Bergie's Coffee Roast House

Oh, brother! There are a few reasons we fell in love with this place from the moment we saw it. First, it's run by easygoing 40-something siblings Bruce and Brian Bergeson, whose personable nature is kinda infectious. Then there's the fact they chose a deliciously enchanting cottage located smack dab in the middle of Gilbert's historic downtown (practically inches away from Joe's Real BBQ) in which to house their caffeinated cooperative. Oh, yeah, and the coffee's pretty damn good, too. And it should be, considering that they roast and grind their own freshly imported beans — which are organic, to boot — on the premises daily. The result: the richest cup of joe or café Americano we've tasted in a long time. After a few cups of the Bergesons' brand, we're ready to re-organize our CD collection, repaint the house, and take a brisk round-trip walk to Prescott.

Inside the Bungalow

The marriage of caffeine and yoga may seem strange. However, such a bold combination can make a traditionally comatose area worth visiting more often. This downtown Mesa spot formerly known as Coffee Talk pretty much looks the same — the wedding-day-like front patio still beckons visitors to come inside the historic two-story house — but the philosophy is much different. Upgrades include a more artisan-focused menu that includes a hummus plate, organic teas, and a smattering of espresso drinks, as well as a seven-day-a-week schedule of yoga classes for both the hardcore practitioner and the downward-facing-dog newbie. Overall, the entire feel of the joint is much lighter. Must be all that finding-your-center stuff.

Solo Cafe

Sure, there are a few indie coffee house options in downtown Tempe. But if you're willing to drive a bit south just past U.S. 60, you'll find the totally-worth-the-trek SOLO Café. Open for almost two years now, this seven-day-a-week space serves up some mean and tasty espresso drinks as well as a bunch of loose leaf teas. In case the beverages and free Wi-Fi aren't reason enough to procrastinate, there's a pretty cool library and a little television that plays DVDs. There's also a community night for musicians on Wednesdays.

Village Coffee Roastery

The best part of waking up is kicking that can of stale-ass "coffee" to the curb and getting a cup of the good stuff. Where do we go? In Scottsdale, you'd best believe it's Village Coffee Roastery, where the coffee isn't just delicious; it's scientific. The fine roasters at VCR have "combined art with modern science to produce coffee that enhances the natural flavor of the bean." We're not sure what scientific techniques they apply to their coffee-brewing process, but we are positive that we feel a little less awkward wearing our lab coats when we stop by.

Fujiya Market
Irashaimase! The best things in life arent free. In fact, theyre a little expensive. Still, a life without C.C. Lemon soda, miniature Gundam figurines or pre-packaged bento boxes is no life at all, or so says a true Japanophile. Thats why we frequent Fujiya Market when we need goods from Nippon. Feel like learning Japanese? Check out Fujiyas collection of Japanese TV shows, for rent on VHS. We prefer inebriation to academics, however, so well be busy scoping out the sake section. Remember, the sake thats meant to be served cold is usually of higher quality.

Best Place to Give the Dog a Bath — and a Treat

Wag N' Wash

Wag N' Wash Healthy Pet Center

The thing about being a dog is that you're subject to the will of your owner. Sure, you can bark and whine, but you're going to be stuck wearing a pink fuzzy sweater and eating tofu dogs if your master demands it. Whimper.

Good thing there's Wag N' Wash, where owners can pamper their pooches with a bubbly shampoo and bakery treats that look just like the human food Fido's always trying to score under the table. The store stocks tons of all-natural kibble, from Active Care to Nature's Variety, plus grain-free brands for sensitive tummies and a fridge filled with raw food.

Medicines, bones, treats, and fuzzy toys are also plentiful, and the bakery section is one of the largest we've found, with liver brownies, peanut butter pie, and quiches that almost look good enough for us humans to eat.

Oliver & Annie

We have absolutely nothing against PetSmart. The local favorite is a good corporate citizen and a great place to shop for everything from dog food to a new pet fish. But Oliver & Annie is to PetSmart what a stylish little clothing boutique is to Target: a small, lovely complement. This tiny north-central Phoenix shop — tucked into the same oh-so-cool strip as Lola Coffee and Haus — smells good, looks good, and offers a carefully selected array of products. We're talking boutique pet food brands, healthy treats, toys made of organic cotton . . . Yes, you will spoil your pet here, but the place is so fabulous, you'll feel chic (not guilty!) while you do it. And trust us, we have yet to meet a single regular customer without at least a tiny crush on the owner.

Frances

Oh, Frances, how we love you. Actually, we never knew you, because you are Georganne Bryant's late grandmother and the namesake of her north-central Phoenix boutique, which in just three years has become a retail mainstay in that neck of the woods. Bryant stocks her little shop with cool women's clothes, gift-perfect baby goods, and irresistible housewares. We always swear we won't, but every time we go, we manage to walk out with at least one piece of jewelry. Hey, we're shopping local. Supporting the economy. Feeding a dangerous habit. (Whoops, got a little honest with that last one.) And somehow, it just feels extra-good to shop at Frances. Bryant is the city's head cheerleader — created the "Love Phoenix or Leave Phoenix" T's you see around town, co-sponsors an indie craft fair at the holidays, and helped bring Faythe Levine's Handmade Nation documentary to Phoenix earlier this year. No, we never met the real Frances, but we still love her for having a granddaughter with such a good heart and such great taste. We bet she'd be awfully proud.

Steve and Andi Rosenstein are big thinkers, which is good, because they've got 15,000 square feet of space to fill, and the Anchor Manufacturing Building on Central and Lincoln is their new project. Built in 1928, this historic spot has housed everything from a car dealership to a garage for city buses to a beer distributorship. It's currently home to their clothing label, R&R Surplus, while they pick up hipster design cred by hosting Kontakt Magazine parties and the Phoenix Contemporary Design Fair. But their big plans include "The Duce," its name derived from their historic neighborhoods' start as a produce district. The Duce will be home to a bar, a restaurant, a produce stand, a vintage bike shop, and an all-vinyl record store. Set to open in November of this year, that sounds like the kind of downtown indie mini-mall we so desperately need. Kudos and godspeed, Rosensteins. The 'Nix is a labyrinthine mix of complex building codes, regulations, and good old-fashioned red tape, the kind of Gordian knot untied only by visionaries. We can't wait for The Duce to be The Done.

The plush linens, vintage baubles, and flirty sundresses at this chic boutique practically sell themselves, but owners Kristin and Dan Alber and their creative staff really want you to get "blissed out." They've got craft kits and supplies for domestic divas to make everything from felt cupcakes (these make adorable pincushions!) to fun printed aprons, and the store's Blissful Living Studio offers classes on jewelry-making and sewing romantic fashions. The blissful spirit is also contagious on the store's blog, which highlights romantic accessories and store sales and offers tips for a happier life. There's even a Blissfully Traveled magazine and an annual Fall Blissfest street fair with live music, antiques, and craft vendors. All this blissful branding is enough to give guests a serious retail high, without any pharmacological assistance.

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