Best Coffeehouse 2023 | Trans Am Cafe | Food & Drink | Phoenix
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The lovely, quirky, laid-back Trans Am Cafe, tucked in the intersection of Roosevelt Street, 15th Avenue and Grand Avenue, has everything you could want in a coffeehouse. Big windows. Mismatched vintage tables of various sizes. Art covering the walls from floor to ceiling. A chess set. Kind staff. Soft-spoken patrons lounging and doodling in sketchbooks. Craft beer at night. And of course, good, strong coffee. That part is key. Not only does Trans Am Cafe provide Phoenix artists a gallery space and support other local creative endeavors, it also provides us the ideal space in which to drink a nice espresso, have a bagel sandwich and stare wistfully out a big window. What more can we ask for from a coffeehouse?

It's often second nature in Phoenix to order iced coffee. But when visiting Peixoto, you need to order a hot drink. Something about the hot offerings at this East Valley coffee shop instantly brings a wash of calm over you as you take a sip and inspires you to close your eyes and smile. This is the kind of place to spend a slow weekend morning enjoying every flavor and nuance of the coffee grown on the Peixoto family's Brazilian farm rather than grabbing a quick caffeine fix. With two East Valley locations, it's a destination worth driving for. For those who can't make the trip to Chandler or Gilbert as often as you'd like, bring the rich flavor of Peixoto coffee home with a bag of beans roasted in-house.

Dark floral wallpaper, drawings of skulls and a mobile made of disco balls set the tone at this vegan coffeehouse. And while the disco balls shine, the real gems are inside the pastry case. Gorgeous cakes, colorful macarons and precise tarts are as delicious as they are a feast for the eyes. Out of context, no one would ever guess they were skillfully made without any butter, milk or eggs. Pair a treat with a perfectly poured espresso and pick your choice of dairy-free milks. If your breakfast coffee session blends into lunch, The Coronado is conveniently located right next door with a full vegan menu.

Lauren Cusimano

Wren House Brewing Co. continues to stay atop of a growing field of quality local craft brewers because it keeps upping the ante. It has plenty of acolytes for its outstanding IPAs, anchored by its award-winning hazy Spellbinder. Understanding the ever-changing preferences of its drinkers, the brewery now makes a nonalcoholic version of Spellbinder, too. Wren House has expanded its lagering program, adding excellent sessionable options like its Italian pilsner Upstream and its award-winning Festbier. Wren House's bungalow on 24th Street — with beloved resident Gravy, its brewery cat — is warm and inviting. But the space is also cozy, and Wren House is growing. The brewers have already expanded to Prescott, they just opened Wren Südhalle, a European-inspired beer hall in Ahwatukee, and a taproom is planned in the redevelopment of the Paradise Valley Mall in 2024.

Sara Crocker

In a growing craft beer scene, Kitsune Brewing Co. has found ways to stand out from the crowd, from its comfortable, communal space in North Phoenix to its playful, ever-rotating sour series that packs familiar, fruit-forward flavors into every sip. Most recently those have included a sour that integrates the vanilla and pineapple of a Dole Whip, or Bantha Milk, a blue raspberry smoothie sour that was inspired by the yak-like creatures from "Star Wars." To say that owner Tyler Smith and his team are having fun with what they're doing is an understatement, and they're bringing that levity to your glass. But, if you're more into straightforward styles, they've got you covered there, too, with the malty Fox Diver Brown or the juicy, citrusy Forager Hazy IPA.

Although it's technically a neighborhood park and not just a beer garden, The Park at O.H.S.O. Brewery is still the ideal place to drink beer al fresco thanks to its size, amenities, events and vibe, which is dog- and kid-friendly. Even if the beers and food weren't top-notch, which they are, this place would be a hit because it offers a range of things to do. The immense area includes a grass lawn, live music on weekends, a 9-by-15-foot movie screen, arcade games and lawn games like cornhole, with competitions at 6 p.m. Mondays and a purse for the winning team. After opening in downtown Gilbert in August 2022, The Park became a central community hub and hangout for everyone from sports fans to families with kids and dog owners, who love the brewery's house-made dog biscuits, off-leash area and "Puppies and Pints" nights from 7-10 p.m. Thursdays.

Chris Malloy

Goldwater Brewing Co.'s Desert Rose Cactus Kölsch predates the brewery. It comes from the days when a dad spent time brewing experimental batches of beer in their garage. Years later, his sons got involved, and the beer has become a staple of the expanding brewing company. Desert Rose is made with locally grown prickly pear fruits, which give the Kölsch-style ale a deep pink hue. It's floral rather than sweet, has a hint of tartness from the fruit and is rounded out with a smooth finish. It's available on tap in the brewery's locations in Scottsdale, Mesa and Tempe, as well as in cans. Look for the cool can artwork depicting a colorful prickly pear cactus.

Lauren Cusimano

Locally made artwork, an always funky playlist and the glow of neon lights contribute to the casual, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere at The Wayward Taphouse. Owned by former Wren House Brewing Co. bartenders Hilda Cardenas and Tyler Goolie, the taphouse has an enviable beer list. Order a pint of an unusual brew from around the world, grab a skillfully poured Guinness or pick a colorful can of cider or wine from the fridge. Then, decide whether your night calls for a seat at the bar, a table outside on the large patio or a game of Scrabble on a coffee table at the sofas up front. The bar often hosts food pop-ups and food trucks, and customers are also welcome to order a slice from SnapBack Pizzeria right across the street.

Geri Koeppel

Fans of natural wines — or those who are curious to explore them — have a gold mine in the new Sauvage, which expanded this year from its humble beginnings as a petite bottle shop in The Churchill. Owner Chris Linga stocks only small-production natural wines, and the list rotates constantly, creating an always-fresh experience whether you want to try a pet-nat, orange wine or Old World red. The setting in itself is so charming and cozy that it warrants a look even if you just want to pop in for a digestif and a plate of high-end bar snacks or a dessert from theDinersaur. Situated in the historic Helen Anderson House, Sauvage rejects the typical cool, modern wine bar aesthetic in favor of rooms full of antique-style furnishings and quirky artwork. But the mood also changes depending on the time and day. It attracts a wide swath of wine drinkers, including couples stopping in with strollers for an afternoon tipple, hipsters pregaming before the club and energetic crowds enjoying live DJs later at night.

Zoya Vora-Shah opened The Wine Collective in late April 2022 and has created a buzz with her business. The Wine Collective showcases at least 40 offerings with special consideration given to Arizona-made wines. The aim is to make wine tasting accessible and an open experience, so prices are reasonable. Cozy and comfortable are two of the adjectives that describe the space. The servers are knowledgeable about the wine, and those unfamiliar with Arizona wines will certainly leave with a greater appreciation of what the state has to offer in terms of its vino selection. Small bites are paired with your favorite glass, and this is certainly a space where questions are welcome. The Wine Collective also offers private bookings for wine tastings for anniversaries and birthdays. And when you find a wine you love, you can buy one or a few bottles to go.

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