Lifestyle & Culture

Not Just Your Everyday Joe: Philly Coffee Shops

August 20, 2017

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A RICH CUP Of COFFEE is our favorite way to start the day.  And, of course, now that coffee is so good for you, we’re even more excited to explore places that serve first-rate joe along with healthy dose of character. Alexa Mergen and MyLittleBird staff have written about our top spots to caffeinate in and around DC ; summer intern and University of Pittsburgh student Emma Larkin told all about her favorite places in Pittsburgh. Now, Larkin reports about where to linger over a cuppa in the city of brotherly love.

Chapterhouse Cafe and Library

Chapterhouse Cafe & Gallery
620 S. Ninth Street
7am-10pm daily

If you love fine art and are a night owl, head to Chapterhouse. Located on a quieter side street in South Philly, this cafe features seasonally changing exhibits and some of the best espresso (so rich it tastes like fruit) a sleep-deprived body could want. If that doesn’t appeal, there are Italian sodas, smoothies, croissants and bagels available.



Elixr Coffee

207 S. Sydenham Street
Monday to Saturday 7am-8pm, Sunday 8am-8pm

A haven with gorgeous colorful murals and friendly people. Seeing people focused on their work put me in the zone; I didn’t even open Pinterest. Communal benches line the walls; I preferred to snag a spot on a long table upstairs. During busy hours, you may be hard pressed to find a seat since it’s a favorite among locals. I particularly liked the spices available next to the half-and-half. They put in a little something special in their cinnamon and nutmeg blend. Elixr’s light-roasted beans gives their coffee more of a tea-like taste. It’s the one I most enjoyed drinking while compiling this roundup.


Bluestone Lane’s Rittenhouse Square cafe

Bluestone Lane
701 Locust Street
Daily 7am-6pm

Tucked inside the historic Warwick Hotel, Bluestone serves up Australian-style coffee and dishes, along with a clean, minimalist decor.  Brunch, which is served all day, includes avocado smash, creamy honey and cashew butter toast topped with seasonal poached fruit, ratatouille-style baked eggs and muesli.  Seating options: stools at the center bar, window benches and extensive seating at the rear of the space. Ideal spot for those who think best in uncluttered space.


Ox Coffee 
616 South Third Street
Monday to Thursday 7am-5pm, Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday 8am-6pm, Sunday 8am-5pm

Conveniently located just off the bustling end of South Street, the compact and inviting Ox Coffee serves high-quality coffee (Stumptown Coffee Roasters) that is harvested, processed and roasted using sustainable and organic practices. Along with featuring local vendors, artists and musicians, Ox hosts night classes to encourage an informed, coffee-loving community. The absence of wi-fi means it’s not for customers who want to tap away on their laptops.


Menagerie Coffee

Menagerie Coffee
18 South Third Street
Monday to Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am-7pm

The open, spacious atmosphere in this Old City coffeehouse (a former art gallery) helped me clear my mind after trekking around the city.  Bonus points for a very friendly staff two immaculate bathrooms and large tables with outlets in the back. They serve light-to-medium-roast coffees from Dogwood Coffee Co., a small roaster out of Minneapolis.  Also, homemade sandwiches and locally sourced yogurt, granola and pastries.

La Colombe
130 South 19th Street
Monday to Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am-7pm

There are several locations around the city, but this spot on Rittenhouse square, near some of the best shopping in the city, is perfect for a quick pit stop or meeting friends. While the weather’s warm, try a draft latte, a unique on-tap libation  that mixes cold-pressed espresso and frothed milk for a delicious, energizing drink. Note: No wi-fi is available, and it tends to get louder and more crowded than most of the other shops on this list.  For at-home coffee prep, check out their premium coffee gear (French presses, grinders, espresso makers).


Also worth checking out: Ultimo, Reanimator, Shot Tower Coffee, and Bodhi

—Emma Larkin



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