Coffee shops come a dime a dozen, but finding one with a unique atmosphere and friendly service isn’t always so easy. It should be a place where you can study, hang out, and have a home away from home. You can find coffee anywhere, but what about a place you enjoy? Besides, life is too short to drink bad coffee.—Brooke Beall
BANYAN CAFÉ AND CATERING 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., St. Petersburg, 727-896-6100, banyancoffee.com. This shop serves locally roasted coffee and a lunch menu that includes local produce. Not in the mood for coffee? Banyan has a variety of teas from Mighty Leaf. The edible selections are notable for breakfast and lunch as well. Go on the weekend for cheesy grits with eggs and bacon or the chef’s omelet.
BARISTAS 33603 W. Gandy Blvd., Tampa, 206-579-0222, baristatv.com. This costume-themed espresso drive-thru has expanded all over the nation. The baristas wear a variety of costumes so customers get a new experience with every visit.
BUDDY BREW 2020 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-258-2739; 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-253-0222, oxfordexchange.com. Tampa’s own coffee roasters. Grab a cup of Buddy Brew (named for the owner’s pooch) or pick up some beans for a good home roast. Visit the new location at the London-inspired Oxford Exchange.
BRUEGGERS 501 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-402-2989, brueggers.com. The place for an authentic New York Style bagel to go with your cup of 100-percent Arabica coffee. Ask about the bottomless mug that gets you unlimited coffee or tea until Dec. 31, 2013.
CAFÉ HEY 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-221-5150. Coffee shops like Café Hey are hard to find these days. Local art, music, comfort foods, and endless cups of good coffee on the cheap make Café Hey an artist’s mainstay. Located in the space adjacent to Oceanic Oriental Market, the cafe serves homemade soups, sandwiches, and sweets.
CAFÉ KILI5731 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa, 813-988-2879, cafekili.com. The owner of Café Kili is originally from Kenya. The shop offers a choice of coffees from all around the world, from Ethiopia to Columbia.
FELICITOUS COFFEE HOUSE 11706 N. 51st St., Tampa, 813-988-2828, felicitouscoffee.com. Located in Bulls Country, this coffee shop prides itself on a comfortable atmosphere that hosts poetry slams, open-mics, and game nights. Dogs welcome the last Saturday of the month for “Doggie Day at the Cafe!”
JET CITY ESPRESSO 318 S. Edison Ave., Tampa, 813-541-5048, jetcityespresso.com. The Seattle-style coffee house is eco-friendly and uses ECOproducts from Boulder, Co. Receive a discount for reusing your cup or bringing your own when you visit.
KAHWA COFFEE Multiple Bay area locations. Visit kahwacoffee.com to find the one closest to you. Kahwa’s brew has taken over the Bay area with café locations on either side of the bay, and espresso bars in both the Element in Tampa and Bayfront Hospital in St. Petersburg. By the cup or by the bag, these are some seriously delicious coffee beans. Kahwa’s atmosphere is perfect for work or play.
KING CORONA CIGARS CAFÉ & BAR 1523 Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-241-9109, kingcoronacigars.com. Come in for a Cafe Corona, named “Best Coffee with a Kick” in last year's Best of issue, while sampling some handmade cigars rich in Ybor City history.
THE LIBRARY COFFEE HOUSE 3201 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-837-5282, thelibrarycoffeehouse.com. With early closing hours this place is best for those who are most productive during the day. Voted “Best Place To Study” by Living Social, thanks to the laid-back atmosphere. There's an eclectic collection of books to read while you're there.
MOXIE’S 514 N. Tampa St., Tampa, 813-221-4510, moxiesdowntown.com. Providing some of the freshest coffee in the downtown area. Coffee beans that aren’t used within two days are donated to locally.
SACRED GROUNDS 4819 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa, 813-983-0837, sacredgroundtampa.com. It looks like a living room or basement where a group of friends would hang out. Great for late night customers, Sacred Grounds closes at midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends.
SECOND LINE CAFÉ 301 W. Platt St., Tampa, 813-258-8778, second-line-cafe.com. For a New Orleans taste in Tampa Bay, this is the place to come. Enjoy authentic beignets, Southern hospitality, and Zydeco music as if you were on Bourbon Street.
STEAM COFFEE SHOP 7410 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-8080, steam.steamandchill.com. This family-owned and operated shop has been open for a little over a year. In that time, this unique cafe has quickly become one of St. Pete Beach’s favorite.
THE BUZZ 710 Harbour Post Drive, Tampa, 813-224-9214, catchthebuzztampa.com. A coffee shop with a wide selection of beers, too? Count us in. Don't miss the documentary night hosted by Cigar City Magazine.
TRE AMICI @ THE YBOR BUNKER 1907 19th St., Tampa, 813-247-6964, yborbunker.com. Although it's a coffee shop, Tre Amici has great food, too. The Cuban sandwich was named Best of the Bay for alternative Cuban sandwich spots. The shop also offers organic and fair-trade products.
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