Spokesman Coffee is in the conversation for the best roasts in town. Even a standard latte is incredibly well-balanced. Spokesman’s slate of roasts yield a lot of complexity without being overbearing—plus, they’re simply pleasant to drink. The artsy atmosphere makes for a great hangout spot, work-from-home sesh, and sweet date. It’s downright cool with its thoughtfully placed lighting and floor-to-ceiling, graffiti-style murals from talented artist Briks. And with its ample seating, parking, and a modest amount of outlets—it's also an excellent virtual office. Find pastries and breakfast tacos, plus plenty of food trucks nearby including li'l Nonnas, an excellent vegan pizza spot, and Spicy Boys Fried Chicken. As the workday ends, Spokesman transitions seamlessly into a happening bar lined with purple neon lighting.
Freddo scores major points for the beauty and versatility of its building. They have a massive outdoor patio with picnic tables and swing seats, plus rooms throughout the two-story Victorian-style house. Natural light floods the place, but if you’re looking for a dimmer environment, you can move to one of the backrooms. There are places to chat, places to work or read—you have the ability to pick the mood you want. In addition to coffee and alcohol—try the signature Freddo Carmelcinno or frosé—Freddo has a full selection of Greek food with gyros, flatbreads, and salads.
A smaller shop, about a street away from both the H-mart and the board game bar Vigilante, Barrett’s is the kind of place you want to catch up with an old friend. Intimate, not cramped, cool yet welcoming, small but mighty. The laid-back atmosphere also makes it a good place to get some focused work in. This is another place with exceptional coffee quality. House specials are a real treat, such as local favorite Ohayo (a breve cappuccino with brown sugar).
Sa-Tén strikes a skillful balance of quirky and relaxed. The little things that make it an extra cool spot. The Canopy location has a display case full of Ultraman action figures and an aquarium in an old TV, while the Airport outpost features art by zany local artist Peelander Yellow. Beyond the great atmosphere, it’s perfect for those who like a more substantial menu to go with their coffee. Try the Saifa, a take on Vietnamese coffee made with condensed milk that is both very strong and sweet. Sa-Tén offers delicious bites like chicken katsu and a variety of curries and Japanese toasts.
Walk into Madrone and feel transported to a cozy mountain ski lodge. But we’re in Oak Hill, and outside there’s a smattering of picnic tables and food trucks in the Texas sun. Inside, pull up a seat under the pitched ceiling amongst natural wood floors, cobblestone walls, and a warm fireplace, weather permitting. There aren’t many other businesses close by, adding to the venue’s quiet and secluded atmosphere. That said, don’t miss regular performances from local blues players, jazz musicians, and swing bands. With a full commitment to the theme, tasty house blends are all named after Texas mountains.
Operating in East Austin for over 15 years, Thunderbird is a favorite among locals. It has the eclectic, down-to-earth vibe you want from an Austin shop. Indoor seating can be a bit sparse at times, but with all of the outdoor seating options, you won’t be hurting to find a spot. They have great specialty drinks like the Turning Violet Latte (espresso and blueberry lavender) and the Honey Nut Latte (espresso, hazelnut, honey, and cinnamon). The sandwiches are also delicious and make a great midday meal for anyone looking to stay a few hours. (Note to the lactose intolerant: sandwiches are premade and all have some sort of dairy.) Early birds can also enjoy the in-house breakfast tacos served until 11 am during the week and till noon on weekends.