Vif Photo by Audrey Kelly

Coffee O’Clock

Ever since Starbucks appeared near bustling Pike Place Market in 1971, Seattle has had a reputation as a coffee city. Nowadays, there are so many talented suppliers that you could get a different coffee experience any time of day. Follow along to fill your itinerary with as many unique Seattle cafes as possible.

Brother Joe Photos by Audrey Kelly

Early to Noon

Get up before the crowds to snap a selfie at the “original” Starbucks (102 Pike St)—actually the shop’s second address. Caffeine alone is a bold way to start the day, though, so set a base for Fair Trade lattes with a breakfast sandwich at Queen Anne Coffee Co. (1811 Queen Anne Ave N), where the familiar trinity of bacon, eggs, and cheddar gets a new lease on life with a fresh challah pretzel roll.

In Georgetown, Brother Joe’s (5629 Airport Way S) heaping plates of steak and grits with redeye gravy sing alongside specialty drinks like “You Know Chata?” (cold-brew mixed with rice, vanilla, and cinnamon). Cherry Street Coffee House (various locations) pairs its Counter Culture-roasted coffee with lunch-ready stews like citrusy gorhem sabzi or earthy gheymeh, a nod to the owners’ Persian roots.

Caffe Vita

Noon to Four

Once you’ve eaten, it’s time for some action—coffee-related, of course.

Find the intersection of coffee and arts at Queen Anne’s Vita at KEXP (472 First Ave N), a collaboration between Caffe Vita, KEXP, and the famed Italian espresso machine-maker La Marzocco. Enjoy your delicious coffee crafted by passionate baristas and the sense of community that comes with it. Even better: The light-filled cafe shares its home with indie darlings KEXP radio and Light in the Attic Records, and KEXP often holds free concerts in its adjacent Gathering Space.

To learn more about coffee or to watch the roasting process, head to Victrola Coffee Roaster (310 E Pike St) for a tasting, located within an old 1920’s auto row building in Capitol Hill. Prefer to commune with the animal world? Order a “catpuccino” and play with the adoptable kitties at Seattle Meowtropolitan (1225 N 45th St). Fair warning: You might need a reservation—these cats are popular.

Ada Lovelace, considered the first computer programmer for her work on the Analytical Engine in the 1800s, inspired the geek’s paradise that is Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe (425 15th Ave E) on Capitol Hill. From science to sci-fi, the books and events at this shop are a specific kind of awesome, and they’re even better with a cortado or cappuccino. Another classic Capitol Hill bookstore, Elliott Bay Book Company, houses light and lovely Little Oddfellows (1521 10th Ave), a cafe where customers can read a staff-picked novel over a hot panini and a cold brew.

Courtesy Neko Cat Cafe

Four to Eight

Transition to happy hour vibes in a squashy leather chair at Mr. West (*720 Olive Way), a downtown hotspot. Start with a non-alcoholic coffee egg cream then move to a cocktail of espresso and cardamom liqueur.

Anchorhead Coffee (*1600 Seventh Ave, Ste 105) also does happy hour downtown (until close at 7pm). Here, beer and wine meet smoked trout, pickles, bottled cold brew, and coffee from a fancy Poursteady device.

Indulge in food and beverages that are just as tasty as they are good for you at Retreat (6900 E Greenlake Way N) in Greenlake. From superfood bowls to wellness lattes, Retreat seeks to feed your body and soul. Bonus: enjoy half price bottles of wine on their menu every Wednesday from 4-7pm.

Come for the rescue animals, stay for the drinks at charming cat cafe Neko (519 E Pine St) on Capitol Hill. The lounge serves cat-shaped cookies, cold brew, and feline-inspired beer like blueberry-infused Kitty Kat Blues from Redmond-based Black Raven Brewing.

Cafe Presse Photo by Audrey Kelly

Eight to Late

If you crave caffeine as day turns to night, you’ve still got options. South Park’s Resistencia Coffee (1249 S Cloverdale St) keeps the energy up with expertly pulled shots of Caffè Umbria coffee and open mic nights, artist events, and community art workshops.

To come full circle, visit Starbucks’ first-of-its-kind Reserve Roastery (*1124 Pike St) on Capitol Hill, open till 11pm daily. As specialty beans whiz through copper-and-glass tubes overhead, baristas prepare experimental blends, flights, and even coffee-spiked cocktails.

When you really need a late-night savior, consider quintessentially French Café Presse (1117 12th Ave) on Capitol Hill for an espresso and glass of wine with a croque monsieur and a plate of ham. The cafe’s open until 1am, so it’s a good bet if you need a quick pick-me-up before heading home.

Caffeinate with a cocktail at Artusi (1535 14th Ave) when you order their espresso martini. Their in-house recipe uses vodka infused with coffee beans from Herkimer, a local coffee shop.


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