When it comes to coffee houses, the environment can be just as important as the coffee they serve. With a variety of scenes, ranging from kid-friendly to crust punk and even bike-obsessed, there's a coffee shop for everyone in Phoenix. Finding the right one for you can be like finding a good pair of jeans-- sometimes it's a struggle until the one that just fits. If you're still on the hunt for your ideal café, here are ten different local coffee shops all around the Valley for you to try first.
Cartel Coffee Lab Somehow with about three times the seating it used to have, the newly expanded Cartel Coffee Lab off Ash Avenue and University Drive in Tempe is still packed most days. The much-needed addition to space also includes the addition of beer brewed in house. However, we still go to Cartel to get the best locally-roasted coffee in town. It should tell you something when Joseph Gordon Levitt and Adrian Grenier are known to pick up armfuls of beans from Cartel when stopping into town. Plus a bunch of other local coffee houses use Cartel roasts for their brews. We say, just go to the original and soak in the alluring aroma of roasted coffee for yourself.
Giant Coffee Three words: Honey vanilla latte. Matt Poole's bright and open coffee shop across from the Phoenix Art Museum uses Four Barrel Coffee and Straus Milk from California to craft one of the most flavorful latte experiences we've ever had. Add on some McClendon's Select local honey and you have a drink, served hot or iced, that is seriously craveable. We also like that they use cocktail shakers to fully-combine and mix all of the elements of a drink together so you aren't left with a syrupy mess at the bottom of your cup.
The Coffee Shop We don't know where Gilbert would be without Agritopia. The farm-centric stretch of land near Ray and Higley roads is home to Joe's Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop. The homey coffee house is not one you'll have to worry about looking super cool or fitting in, unlike many of its competitors. This is an especially good thing to know once you've tried their pastries and cupcakes because there's no way to look cool while jamming baked goods in your mouth in rapid succession. Just give in.
Jobot Coffee Jobot may not be everyone's cup of tea partially because of the blaring punk or hardcore music that is typically playing or maybe because if you sit on the patio you might have to (gasp) talk to a homeless person, but boy, that patio kicks butt. Most coffee houses in town have a couple tables outside or don't have anywhere to sit outdoors at all so when the weather is actually nice, there's no coffee house we'd rather haunt than Jobot with its ample out front seating and insane open all night hours. Not to mention the incomparable people watching, which exhibits an array of tattoos and piercings you may not have even known were possible.
Press Coffee Roasters Speaking as journalists, we know the importance of coffee when deadlines draw nearer and nearer. That's why it's no surprise that some of the Valley's best coffee is made in a café owned by local news lady Tram Mai. The location in the Scottsdale Quarter is one of the best places for coffee in the North Valley. Plus, we love to grab a cup between shopping sprees.
Inside the Bungalow There are a lot of coffee houses slash something elses around but no one does it quite like Downtown Mesa's Inside the Bungalow. The coffee house slash yoga studio slash wedding venue is unique and cozy with an Alice in Wonderland whimsical vibe in its décor. We love their green tea frappes on a hot summer day, which are the perfect reward after busting your buns in a yoga class. The best part of all is the tea set chandelier hanging above the register area, which we want so badly to replicate in our own homes. It was pretty much made to be Pinterested.
Songbird Coffee & Tea House Roosevelt Row has its fair share of coffee shops and we swear a new one springs up every time we hit up First Friday so we were wary of newcomer, Songbird, at first. However, the knowledgeable staff is talented in the latte arts so we were easily persuaded. The cute bookish décor is akin to chilling in your eccentric great aunt's loft, complete with for sale terrariums and plenty of other nic nacks to keep your eye wandering for hours. Speaking of hours, Songbird recently expanded theirs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.
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Lux Coffeebar You've got a lot of options at Lux-- you can get a coffee (we recommend their Velvet mocha), order from the menu du jour, pick up a few fresh-baked pastries, grab a craft cocktail, listen to an odd ambient house music DJ or just stare as the beautiful people pass by in outfits each hipper than the last. To say Lux is a hipster haven is an understatement--as it is always packed with cool people. However, the family-friendly atmosphere is welcoming enough to bring your kids or your grandmother. If you haven't discovered the black cave-like side room in the back of Lux yet, we recommend popping in.
Trailhead Bike Shop and Cafe When you ride your bike to other cafes in town your pretty much S.O.L. if you get a flat on the way, but at Trailhead you can get that flat fixed while you sip your capp. The café part of Trailhead is small with just a couple tables to sit at with the retail bike shop portion completely encircling it. However, if you want to geek out on your fancy hub and carbon-fiber blah blah blah, this is the coffee shop for you because the baristas are also bike nerds.
Lola Coffee Lola's move closer downtown was jarring at first, but we've grown to love their new space off Roosevelt Street and Third Avenue. They still have the same great coffee drinks, which are more like dessert than anything else, and a small kitchen serving up build your own omelets and other goodies. We love their frittata by the slice and savory scones. Plus the calm and quiet atmosphere is much more mellow than its fellow coffee shops on the list.