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Indie Coffee Shops In Philadelphia Are Popular For Good Reason
Local Cafes & Bean Blenders Offer Smooth, Strong Alternative To Chain Operations
Independently owned-and-operated coffee shops have been part of Philadelphia’s DNA long before the advent of corporate cups of joe. Philly’s cafes are known for their well-engineered espressos and meticulously roasted beans, hand pours and draft lattes to go. (After all, the city is home to the original La Colombe.) But these sometimes busy, often tranquil neighborhood spots aren’t merely better caffeine sources. They’re also great places to sit back and relax into the vibrant, historic and undeniably friendly city itself. Here are some local favorites by neighborhood:
- Bodhi Coffee – This inspired duo of coffee shops—one in Society Hill, the other in Washington Square West—serves fresh, organic and local. Patrons take their Stumptown coffee in pour-over or drip style. 410 S. 2nd Street, (267) 239-2928; 263 S. 10th Street, bodhicoffeephila.com
- Menagerie Coffee – Old City neighbors come for the full espresso bar, hand-poured coffee from a variety of brands and locally sourced small eats. The clean, bright atmosphere makes for the perfect setting to enjoy exotic choices like a honey spice cortado and straight-ahead cappuccinos. 18 S. 3rd Street, menageriecoffee.com
- Old City Coffee – Three high-traffic locations—one in Old City, plus two booths in Reading Terminal Market—produce fresh, small batches of high-grade Arabica coffee. For more than
25 years, this Philly institution has educated the public about coffee appreciation—whether it’s a house blend brewed onsite or a take-home bag of beans. 221 Church Street, (215) 629-9292; Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 592-1897, oldcitycoffee.com
Rittenhouse Square/Center City West:
- Elixr Coffee – The eco-friendly reclaimed wood paneling and cool marble countertops are only a backdrop for the main event: the superb Synesso Hydra-brewed espresso. The pour-over menu always features a nice mix of house-roasted options. 207 S. Sydenham Street, (239) 404-1730, elixrcoffee.com
- Good Karma Café – Fair-trade and certified-organic coffee is the foundation at all three locations, and owner David Arrell takes his philosophy to an even higher level with green construction and corn-based plastics. 331 S. 22nd Street, (215) 546-1479; 928 Pine Street,
(267) 519-8860; 2319 Walnut Street, (267) 239-2068, thegoodkarmacafe.com
- Gran Caffe L’Aquila – Espresso the way Italians intended it thrives here, with beans roasted by Michele Morelli, an Italian coffee celebrity. The pampered setting invites patrons to sit with a ristretto or turco with a pastry and enjoy a newspaper. 1716 Chestnut Street, (215) 568-5600, grancaffelaquila.com
- HubBub Coffee – What began as a coffee truck now pours steamy double shots of Stumptown espresso at flagship cafes in Center City, University City and Radnor. Both drip and cold brew coffees are made from a house blend. 1717 Arch Street, (215) 665-1982; 3736 Spruce Street, (215) 387-0700; 232 N. Radnor Chester Road, Radnor, (610) 687-1710, hubbubcoffee.com
- Joe – A New York roaster with a solid presence in Philly, Joe operates two locations—one in Rittenhouse Square, the other in University City. Both serve the House Selection, The Waverly espresso and other delicious blended and single-origin options, and the University City location hosts a series of barista classes. 1845 Walnut Street, (215) 278-2454; 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 240-4577, joenewyork.com
- Mugshots Coffeehouse – This Fairmount hangout maintains a commitment to sustainability via recyclable packaging; vegan, vegetarian and organic snacks; Counter Culture coffee and espresso; and local food. 1925 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 514-7145, mugshotscoffeehouse.com
- Peddler Coffee – Logan Square’s beverage boîte specializes in single origin, micro-batch roasted beans. Customers can opt for espresso, filter and Chemex drinks. 2100 Spring Street, peddlercoffee.com
- Rival Bros. – What happens when a chef and a coffee roaster (lifelong friends) join forces for the good of espresso drinkers? A full-service cafe with all the classic espresso drinks, plus The Derringer, a riff on the cortado that’s made with a bit more milk and the house single-origin espresso. 2400 Lombard Street, rivalbros.com
Washington Square West/Center City East:
- Double Knot – The all-day, main-floor portion of this double concept serves up coffee on tap, hand pours, espresso drinks and even coffee cocktails. All that, plus Elixr beans and a killer draft latte make it a major café contender. 120 S. 13th Street, (215) 631-3868, doubleknotphilly.com
- GreenStreet Coffee Roasters – The tiny Spruce Street shop is emblematic of its ethos: small and sustainable. The single-origin, responsibly sourced coffees are roasted in the company’s Alter Street headquarters. 1101 Spruce Street, (610) 504-3934, greenstreetcoffee.com
- Square One Coffee – A Lancaster-based micro-roaster with a farmer-centric approach, Square One caters to downtown workers and residents with two Center City locations. Small batch coffees from Ethiopia, Colombia, Ecuador and beyond complement local dairy products, Four Worlds pastries and vegan snacks. 1811 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (267) 930-8654; 249 S. 13th Street, (267) 758-6352, squareonecoffee.com
- La Colombe – Inarguably the originator of Philly’s first wave of coffee, the five area locations remain go-to spots for rich Italian-style espressos and excellent machiattos. Restaurants and eateries around the city pour the beloved blends. La Colombe’s Fishtown flagship draws crowds for brunch and happy hour (5-7 p.m.; half-price food and drink specials). 130 S. 19th Street, (215) 563-0860; 1414 S. Penn Square, (215) 977-7770; 6th & Market Streets, (267) 479-1650; 1335 Frankford Avenue, (267) 479-1600; 915 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (215) 398-3091, lacolombe.com
- ReAnimator Coffee – This roaster with national recognition serves its own beans in espresso drinks and pour-overs at sleekly minimalist cafes in Fishtown and Kensington.
1523 Susquehanna Avenue, (215) 425-5805; 310 W. Master Street, (267) 758-6264, reanimatorcoffee.com
- One Shot Coffee – Built from reclaimed wood and tile, Northern Liberties’ expansive coffeehouse showcases its socially conscious heart with Stumptown’s direct-trade coffee and seasonal organic fare—some of which is made with ingredients grown in customers’ gardens. 217 W. George Street, (215) 627-1620
- Chhaya – The organic, fair-trade espressos and lattes here come courtesy of Caffe D’Arte espresso, One Village and Philly Fair Trade roasters. Look for pour-overs, siphon brews and even South Indian filter coffee styles. 1819 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 465-1000, chhayacafe.com
- Rally – The business model includes a cooperative workspace and a creative agency, but this coffee bar takes its brews seriously. It’s also of the few area establishments to offer sustainable Lancaster/Philly-based Passenger beans. 701 S. 7th Street, (215) 925-3657, heyrally.com
- Ox Coffee – This community-focused shop eschews Wi-Fi to keep the focus on simple goodness: Stumptown beans, farm-fresh milk and local pastries. A backyard courtyard expands the seating in warmer months. 616 S. 3rd Street, (215) 922-2531, oxcoffee.com
- Cinemug – This cafe from a former video store clerk revives the idea that cinephiles should have a collective gathering place to watch and rent movies. In addition to ReAnimator coffee and sandwiches, the store maintains a library of 1,600 titles to borrow. 1607 S. Broad Street, (267) 314-5936, cinemug.coffee
- Federal Donuts – Though this mini-local chain is best known for its inventive fried chicken and donuts, the house coffee, a proprietary blend from PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., is an equally delicious reason to visit—particularly in the warmer months, when it’s cold-brewed with a Japanese siphon tower. 1219 S. 2nd Street, (267) 687-8258; 1632 Sansom Street, (215) 665-1101; 3428 Sansom Street, (267) 275-8489; 701 N. 7th Street, (267) 928-3893, federaldonuts.com
- Grindcore House – Because vegans are serious about coffee, too, this Pennsport hangout stocks a variety of non-dairy creamers (soy, rice, almond, coconut) and a meatless, eggless, milkless menu of pastries and sandwiches. 1515 S. 4th Street, (215) 839-3333, grindcorehouse.com
- Ultimo – Its espresso was rated best in the city by The Philadelphia Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan and best in the country by The Daily Meal, and rightfully so. Counter Culture Coffee, perfectly ground and brewed to order, thrills even the most serious coffee lover. (So do the Friday morning—10-11 a.m.—tastings at the Catharine Street location.) 1900 S. 15th Street, (215) 339-5177; 2149 Catharine Street, (215) 545-3565, ultimocoffee.com
- Shot Tower Coffee – Between its Stumptown and PT beans and specially created La Marzocco machine, Queen Village’s caffeine source turns out impeccable espressos. It also plays an active role in community engagement, hosting neighborhood events boosted by strong brews. 542 Christian Street, (267) 886-8049
- Green Line Cafe – With an emphasis on coffee and community, West Philly’s homegrown chain serves its patrons not just organic, fair-trade coffee and healthy fare, but also a friendly space to hear poetry and view local art. 4239 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-3431; 4426 Locust Street, (215) 222-0799; 3649 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 382-2143; 28 S. 40th Street, (215) 475-6653; 1650 Arch Street, (267) 639-2531, greenlinecafe.com
- Lovers and Madmen – This University City coffee lounge offers short-pulled Counter Culture espressos from its La Marzocco FB/80 in a friendly, collegiate atmosphere. 28 S. 40th Street, (215) 243-9851, loversandmadmencoffee.com
Beyond The Immediate City:
- Burlap and Bean – Newtown Square’s café distinguishes itself as an ambitious independent spot with a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. The coffee, roasted on the premises, features organic, fair-trade beans sourced from around the world. 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, (484) 427-4547, burlapandbean.com
- Chestnut Hill Coffee Company – Patrons can catch a whiff of caramelizing beans in the upstairs roastery. Downstairs, the coffee bar turns out well-pulled shots and elaborate swirls of latte art. 8620 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-8600, chestnuthillcoffee.com
- Green Engine Coffee – Haverford’s chic enclave puts its green focus right in the name. Guests craving the Rival Bros. coffee see the shop’s eco-commitment in the wall of plant life, reclaimed flooring and repurposed church pew seating. Beans, sourced from local Rival Bros., can be transformed into liquid heaven via the La Marzocco, the Kyoto-style cold drip brewer, drip or hand pours. 18 Haverford Station Road, Haverford, greenenginecoffee.com
- Gryphon Café – House-roasted, organic coffee keeps visitors awake. The cafe operates locations in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, in Wayne and in the New Leaf Club in Rosemont. 100 W. Oxford Street, (215) 425-3055; 105 W. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (610) 688-1988; 1225 Montrose Avenue, Rosemont, (610) 526-1937, gryphoncafe.com
- High Point Café – Its espressos have earned top ratings, and the two locations of in Mt. Airy boast a mean menu of quiches, baked goods and crepes of the same quality. The house-roasted beans can be purchased to go. 602 Carpenter Lane, (215) 849-5153; 7210 Cresheim Road, (215) 248-1900, highpointcafe.us.com
- Philter – In the town of Kennett Square, owner/barista Chris Thompson serves handcrafted drip coffee to his loyal customers in a relaxed, welcoming coffee shop. Ceremony Coffee Roasters provides seasonal specialty coffees and single-origin espressos. 111 W. State Street, Kennett Square, (610) 444-7687, philtercoffee.com
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
Philadelphia Does Up Food & Beer Festials Big
With spring in full gear and summer on its way, the Philadelphia region will keep bellies full with a delicious, mostly neighborhood-centric lineup of food and drink festivals. May through the fall feature few empty weekends on the calendar—some are even double-booked. The Food Trust’s popular Night Market returns with four dates over the next six months. Other highlights include Philly Beer Week, the 9th Street Italian Market Festival, 2nd Street Festival and many more. Here’s a chronological list of the region’s top food and drink festivals:
May 6, 2017
PHOENIXVILLE FOOD FESTIVAL. Downtown Phoenixville sees thousands of people—rain
Philly Tours Explore History, Art, Food, Bridges & the Supernatural
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and, if so desired, spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
- Bow Tie Tours – Learning about Philadelphia’s—and America’s—history through the true tales of real-life characters who walked the city’s streets is the secret to the success of
Southern, Soul & Caribbean Food Satisfy Philly Diners
Nothing’s more satisfying than a plate of down-home eats, and thankfully, Philly’s dining scene is rich in all categories of authentic soul food. Whether it’s a gourmet spin on turkey wings, a zesty bowl of jambalaya or a slice of sweet-potato pie, hearty goodness abounds at the region’s soul, southern, Cajun, Cuban and Caribbean eateries. Caribbean Cuisine Week (April 25-28, 2017) celebrates island flavors while raising funds for more than 700 high school athletes from Jamaica, Grenada, St. Vincent, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago participating in the Penn Relays.
Here’s a look of some of the mouthwatering delights sure to...
Philadelphia's New Spring Restaurants Are All Over Its Map
The arrival of spring itself is reason to celebrate, but a fresh list of restaurant openings provides the what and where. Now is the time to try SPAM musubi (like maki) near Rittenhouse Square (Poi Dog), Taiwanese fried squid in Chinatown (Cheers Cut) and quirky beers in Fishtown (Evil Genius). Whether it’s a dining destination in King of Prussia (Mistral) or a burger joint in Manayunk (Napoleon Burger), great eating awaits. Here are some recently launched venues to experience—asterisks (*) mark venues with alfresco dining:
Center City East:
Philly's Lesbian Nightlife Heats Up With Hot Clubs, Cool Parties & Special Events
Philly may be best known as the City of Brotherly Love, but sisters from Center City to New Hope have plenty of reasons to celebrate the LGBT-friendly nightlife scene, which in 2017 includes Center City Philadelphia’s newly opened lesbian watering hole Toasted Walnut. Women’s parties and exclusive nightclubs have put Philly on the map for lesbian life after dark. Here’s a look at where the girls party and play:
Gay & Lesbian Bars:
- Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen – Philadelphia’s long-awaited—and only—lesbian bar comprises 3,800 square feet of bar space, an entertainment area with three 70-inch TVs and party
What's in the Callowhill Neighborhood?
Dubbed the “Loft District” by real estate developers and “The Eraser ’Hood” by locals referencing the once-dark landscape that inspired former resident David Lynch’s cult classic Eraserhead, Callowhill is something between these two extremes. The stylish-yet-still-transforming neighborhood attracts both young professionals who enjoy its high-end condos and close proximity to Center City and artists looking for affordable studio and gallery spaces. The formerly industrial neighborhood charms with a rich stock of large, urban buildings, remnants of cobblestone streets, edgy rock clubs, emerging galleries and hidden cultural gems.
Just north of Center City, Callowhill’s boundaries run from 8th to Broad...
Experience A Taste Of That Famous Philly Flavor
Philadelphia’s signature flavor is a dynamic mix of traditional recipes, new culinary inventions, well-known treats and obscure dishes, and these specialties can be found everywhere—from corner stores to the fanciest haute restaurants. Among the region’s best-known foods are national favorites like Italian water ice, Pennsylvania Dutch pretzels and the ever-popular cheesesteak. More localized favorites include pork roll and scrapple, which are available here in the region and through services such as Taste of Philadelphia, one of many companies that ship Philly goodies across the United States.
Here are some of the sandwiches, snacks, meats and more that have left a...
Arcades, Museum Parties, Drag Shows & More Alternatives To Nighttime Fun In Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s famously hip bars, jazz lounges, indie rock haunts and electric dance clubs are worth exploring, but visitors whose after-dark tastes trend toward the less usual can also enjoy bowling, dance lessons, drag shows, museum parties and game nights. To make the nighttime fun continue into the next day, visitors can sleep over and take advantage of the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package—packed with perks, including free hotel parking.
Games For Grown-Ups:
- Barcade – Childhood dreams come true when grown-up gamers can defeat Donkey Kong and master Marble Madness—all while choosing from a list of a couple
Philadelphia's Top Restaurants And Bars For NFL Draft Media
When it comes to dining and drinking, Philly has almost too many choices, especially when it comes to NFL Draft time. Here are a few restaurants and bars recommended for members of the press who don’t have time to read reviews—or have dinner out, for that matter. The list below is organized by neighborhood, and many of the spots are good for groups.
FAIRMOUNT (Center City, Art Museum Area)
- Mugshots Coffeehouse – The area’s original coffeehouse, serving up locally farmed foods, fairly traded organic coffee and tea, and vegan and gluten-free grub. Wi-Fi. 1925 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 514-7145,