Philadelphia, PA - Independently owned-and-operated coffee shops have been part of Philadelphia culture since the 18th Century. Today, Philly cafes are known for their well-engineered espressos and meticulously roasted beans, hand pours and draft lattes. (Philadelphia is home to the original La Colombe, booming in its 24th year.) But these often 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.
Big-Deal Roasters, Multiple Locations:
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); Rittenhouse’s operation, now in its 24th year, is the O.G. of the bunch. 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
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
High Point Café – Its espressos have earned top ratings, and three locations, two in Mt. Airy, one in Fairmount, also offer great quiches, baked goods and crepes. House-roasted beans can be purchased to go. 602 Carpenter Lane, (215) 849-5153; 7210 Cresheim Road, (215) 248-1900; 1925 Fairmount Avenue, (267) 514-7145, highpointcafe.us.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. In addition to the two Center City locations, there’s a Rival Bros. in South Philadelphia. 2400 Lombard Street, 1528 Spruce Street, 1100 Tasker Street, rivalbros.com