One thing to note: Philly’s coffee shops are not the warm and fuzzy type. Not rude or unfriendly, but definitely not chit chatty. This list highlights shops we have visited that have seating and free wifi.
Gran Cafe Aquilla: This place is an odd hybrid- part Italian coffee shop, part cafe, part pricey restaurant, part gelataria. However, they do have the best cappuccino (and gelato) in the city. For coffee (or gelato), bypass the hostess and order directly from the coffee bar in the back, where you are welcome to sit and drink. They also have tasty, inexpensive panini, which you can order and eat in the coffee bar. Or, you can splurge on one of their fancy meals (pasta carbonara with Italian bacon gelato?) 1716 Chestnut
OCF: This mini Philly chain is where Tobey discovered the honey-bear latte (oat milk & cinnamon). We usually go to the large shop in Fairmount, near the art museum, but they also have a small outpost in Old City. They also have an excellent gingery chai.
Nook: This cute little independent in Center City roasts its own beans and has the tastiest coffee treat ever – marscapone bars from the in-house bakery (ginger is our all time favorite, but the lemon is also yummy). 15 S. 20th
La Calombe: This Philly based national chain has good coffee, but it’s their draft lattes that are the standout (their coffee can be found at many shops and restaurants throughout the area). Their flagship store is in Fishtown, but my favorite is the small outpost in the historic Rohm & Haas building on Independence Mall, where you can sip your draft latte while appreciating the historic, plexiglass chandeliers (The Rohm & Hass Chandeliers: Coffee with A Modernist in Masterpiece in the Midst of Colonial Philadelphia).
Saxby’s: Another Philly based chain, this one is cool because of their community service mission. Several of their stores are student run, providing college students with academic credit and real world business experience. The store on the Drexel campus was the first of their Experiential Learning Programs (65 N 34th St).
Function Coffee Labs: This independent roasts its own beans and always has a few creative options on the menu. Since they have a Zagar mosaic on the side of the cafe, it is the perfect stop when doing a walking tour of Isaac Zagar’s mosaics (Public Art & Philly’s Magic Gardens). 1001 S. 10th
Black and Brew: This coffee shop on Passyunk Avenue has another Zagar mural along with fantastic people/doggie watching. Plus, a yummy breakfast/lunch menu.
ICI: This tiny bakery is a perfect rest stop when exploring the historic sites (or shopping) in Old City. They have good coffee, plus delicious macarons and stuffed shortbread. 230 Arch Street
Green Street: A tiny coffee bar/roaster with great chai lattes and the cutest bathroom, at the corner of 11th & Spruce. Near the Historic Society, Pennsylvania Hospital, and scenic walking along Spruce Street.
Cake Life: The place for coffee and Instagram worthy pastries and cakes, both sweet and savory. They have even provided several of Beyonce’s birthday cakes. If you really need a pick me up… try a unicorn hot chocolate. 1306 Frankford
Cake & Joe: Some of Philly’s prettiest pastries (they taste as good as they look!) come from this newish coffee shop in Pennsport. Creative lattes (like my rose latte), colorful yogurt/fruit calpis. 1401 E Moyamensing Ave
Mina’s World: This little coffee shop/cafe is a bit off the beaten path (in West Philadelphia near the Woodlands), but has a very friendly staff and a social conscience. Definitely try the rose syrup yogurt and the samosas. 511 S 52nd
Uncle Bobbie’s: Their motto- “Cool People, Dope Books, Great Coffee.” Great place when exploring the history of Germantown. Across the street from the historic society and the Deshler Morris house. In addition to the cute cafe with coffee and treats, they have an extensive selection (kids stuff, too) of works by black writers. 5445 Germantown Ave.
Other coffee experiences:
Fante’s: Yes, it’s a cooking supply store in the heart of the Italian market, but any list of Philly coffee spots would be lacking if it didn’t mention the best coffee deal in the city – the $1 espresso from their in-store coffee bar (no seating). If its summer, spring for one of the amazing coffee gratinas. A house-made biscotti completes the experience. 1006 S. 9th
Cafe y Chocolate: This is a great spot in South Philly if you are want churros to go with your cafe olé or Mexican hot chocolate. 1532 Snyder
Ray’s Tea House: A tiny place in Chinatown where you can get siphon coffee (free cookie included), along with really yummy dumplings. 141 N. 9th