Food & Drink

The Best Coffee Shops in Cleveland

Published On 04/27/2016 Published On 04/27/2016
six shooter coffee, coffee shop
Six Shooter Coffee | Courtesy of Dreamhouse Marketing

Six Shooter Coffee

Waterloo

The newest addition to Cleveland’s coffee offerings, Six Shooter has an understated interior that is intimate without being cramped. Here, enjoy flavorful, locally roasted coffee -- the Brazilian roast is deliciously light and sweet -- as well as kombucha on tap. It’s part of the Waterloo District (North Collinwood to old-school Clevelanders), a truly funky part of town that’s sprung up around the Beachland Ballroom. Stop down the street to try some Caribbean food at Callaloo Cafe, peruse the galleries at Waterloo Arts, and sift through records (and say hi to Vinyl the cat) at Music Saves.

The Root Café

Lakewood

The Root CafĂ© is one of those places that could be insufferable, but is refreshingly the opposite. It’s spacious and a little funky, with mismatched tables and chairs and art on the bathroom walls. Local and organic isn’t just a trendy slogan for Root CafĂ©: it makes hearty and inventive vegetarian and vegan sandwiches (try the Clevo!) that will entice even the most ardent meat-eaters in Greater Cleveland. The coffee (ours was served in a weirdly pleasing square-ish mug) comes from Rising Star and duck-rabbit, whose shop near Ohio City is set to open as early as next month. You can bring your parents, your grandparents, and your hippest of hipster friends to Root, and they’ll all find something to like.

 Phoenix Coffee

Phoenix Coffee

Coventry (& other locations)

If numbers are how we’re measuring, then Phoenix is coffee king in Cleveland. It has four locations in the city, each one serving coffee it’s been roasting locally for 25 years. Ohio City’s location has a patio with a great view of the neighborhood’s historic houses. Coventry’s has the friendliest staff in the city, and is a great spot to crack open the book you just picked up from Mac’s Backs. Lee’s is a quieter spot, ideal for a post-date discussion of the arthouse film you saw at Cedar Lee. And regardless of your opinion on gluten-free products, try the Salted Double Chocolate Cookies from Uncommon Grains. They just might make you a believer.

Vintage Tea & Coffee

Playhouse Square

The emphasis at Vintage Tea & Coffee is on tea, but don’t sleep on the coffee. The dedicated staff here will tailor your cup or espresso shot (made from coffee sourced locally and nationally) to your taste. A short walk from Cleveland State, Vintage seems to have remained something of a secret. It’s a stripped-down, unassuming modern space that’s great for reading, and serves authentic Taiwanese bubble tea. The variety of and dedication to tea evident at Vintage is impressive. We're not planning a hard switch from coffee any time soon, but if we were, Vintage would be the place to start.

Courtesy of Frank Novak/Rising Star Coffee Roasters

Rising Star

Hingetown (& other locations)

You can find Rising Star’s coffee served at a lot of local establishments these days: Blackbird Baking Company, Fire, even Root Cafe and Vintage (two of the other shops on this list). However, espresso is the star of the show at its Hingetown location. Order a shot like the Biloya and the knowledgeable staff will serve it to you on a board with some seltzer water -- you’ve got to cleanse that palate, son! -- and will gladly tell you about the flavor notes and acidity profile. It’s an experience akin to drinking at La Cave du Vin or one of Cleveland’s other fine wine bars. There is a patio that’s perfect for Cleveland’s all-too-brief spring and summer months, and there’s a location in Little Italy to help jolt you out of your alfredo-induced coma.

LOOP

Tremont

It’s hard to get much cooler than a combination coffee shop/record store. Especially if that business happens to be in Tremont, one of Cleveland’s coolest neighborhoods. Dave Foran, LOOP's owner and roaster, has created some sweet roasts through experimentation and deviation from the norm. The West Coast Espresso is pleasantly fruity and light, and the Fairfield is highly recommended for black-coffee lovers. LOOP's downstairs features a curated music selection with great deals and an emphasis on up-and-coming local artists. The upstairs is a necessity for record collectors.

Courtesy of Erie Island

Erie Island Coffee Co.

Gateway District

This coffee house provides something of a, well, island from the bustle of the East Fourth corridor. Its local roasts have received much acclaim, but the baristas are inventive with lattes, as well. Wait for them to bring back the maple root beer latte when the weather turns cold again. Grab a seat by the window when you go -- the East Fourth location (within feet of some of the best restaurants in Cleveland) makes it an ideal spot for people-watching. Check out the Rocky River location for an easier time parking.

The Coffee House

University Circle

One of the coolest things about The Coffee House, a campus favorite for Case Western students, is its location. As the name implies, it’s in an actual house, which lends to the quiet, studious atmosphere. There’s a great variety of tea on the menu, and the Cafe Voltaire presents a potent combination of Ghirardelli chocolate and espresso. The Coffee House is within walking distance of the Cinematheque, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and several other of Cleveland’s most important cultural locations. It’s also a stone’s throw from the Barking Spider, one of the best dive bars in Cleveland, so that you can study for a few hours before getting your reasonably priced pitcher of Great Lakes.

Courtesy of Kayla Barnes

TownHall

Ohio City

It’s true that TownHall’s Kickstarter Coffee, made from blending coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil, is trendy as hell right now. Even as you read this, your friend who’s always fancied himself hip is trying to replicate it in his studio apartment kitchen. But believe us, it earns the acclaim. It comes out smooth and creamy, and is especially good if you ask for it with a dash of vanilla. It gives you a gentler and longer-lasting caffeine buzz. Friends, we're riding this hype train to the last stop. (The shakerato and orange mocha are worth checking out, as well.)

Deweys

Shaker Square

Deweys is a Shaker Square institution. Its vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, and its crowd is as diverse as Shaker Square itself. Deweys is doors away from Fire and Edwin’s, two of the city’s most important restaurants, and it’s a short and scenic walk from there to Loganberry Books, one of the city’s best independent bookstores. Plus you can get some ice cream to go with your coffee from Chagrin Falls’ Popcorn Shop, which is a combo that’s hard to beat.

Courtesy of Pour Cleveland

Pour Cleveland

Gateway District

The emphasis in the Cleveland coffee scene -- hell, in pretty much every Cleveland scene -- is on local. Pour takes a different tack. It sources the roasters it serves from all over the world, assembling an international all-star team of coffee right here in CLE. You won’t find rows of sugary flavored syrups or tons of baked goods at Pour, but you will find a featured list of coffees, switched out every one to two weeks, from as far as Norway and Germany. The pour-over method used to make your cup takes extra time, but was well worth it for the honey and peach flavors it brought out in our El Diamente blend. Stop in Saturdays at noon for coffee cuppings (the caffeinated equivalent of a wine tasting) to expand your palate.

duck-rabbit coffee

Tremont

Even though the West Side Market, GLBC, and Market Garden are practically around the corner, the part of Columbus Rd that duck-rabbit inhabits feels intimately secret; except that it's not -- Velvet Tango Room staked out its new neighbor's digs years ago, but that's fine. We'll just consider this the quality corner of Cleveland drink-making. As VTR is careful to craft subtle, creative cocktails, duck-rabbit is roasting its own beans and serving pour-overs and espresso drinks with intense, scientific consideration, bringing out the delicate wine-like qualities of coffee. The menu is simple, but who needs 15 drinks to choose from when the five there are perfect?

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1. Six Shooter Coffee 16021 Waterloo Rd, Cleveland, OH 44110

A relatively recent addition to the Cleveland coffee scene, Six Shooter Coffee is an intimate cafe in the Waterloo District. Offering micro roasted beans sourced from within the US, Six Shooter serves a full espresso menu, Bearded Buch kombucha on tap, and baked good from local faves Poison Berry Bakery, Cleveland Bagel Co., and Lucy’s Sweet Surrender Bakery. It’s part of the Waterloo District (North Collinwood to old-school Clevelanders), a truly funky part of town that’s sprung up around the Beachland Ballroom.

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2. The Root Cafe 15118 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107 (Lakewood)

This friendly, hippie-ish cafe in Lakewood offers up hearty vegetarian fare in addition to coffee freshly brewed by local beanery, Rising Star. It's a solid lunch option; the extensive menu of sandwiches, pizzas, and baked veggie sides are satisfyingly filling enough to make you forget you were craving a BLT. Local and organic isn’t just a trendy slogan for Root Café: it makes hearty and inventive vegetarian and vegan sandwiches (try the Clevo!) that will entice even the most ardent meat-eaters in Greater Cleveland.

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3. Phoenix Coffee 1793 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Phoenix is coffee king in Cleveland. With four locations across the CLE, each one serving coffee it’s been roasting locally for 25 years, it's a staple mainstay of the Cleveland coffee scene. The Coventry location has the friendliest staff in the city, and is a great spot to crack open the book you just picked up from Mac’s Backs. The spacious shop is frequented by a lot of area college students in addition to locals, and live music is performed regularly. And regardless of your opinion on gluten-free products, try the Salted Double Chocolate Cookies from Uncommon Grains. They just might make you a believer.

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4. Vintage Tea & Coffee 1816 E 12th St, Cleveland, OH 44114 (Coventry)

This Playhouse Square caffeinery serves premium batch teas in a space worth settling into for a while. A short walk from Cleveland State, Vintage seems to have remained something of a secret. It’s a stripped-down, unassuming modern space that’s great for reading, and sipping on Taiwanese bubble tea and Japanese matcha. Vintage's coffee's no slouch, either. Munch on pressed Belgian waffles while you chill out in the low-key, minimalist space.

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5. Rising Star Coffee Roasters 412 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, OH (Downtown)

Rising Star, a cute coffee shop and roastery is serving up superior brews that are perfect for enjoying at home or in their bright, minimalist shop located in the Downtown Arcade. With multiple locations across Cleveland, you can be sure you won't be far from getting your fix. At the Hingtown location, espresso's the star of the show. The shop also sells lots of coffee related accessories for home brewing.

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6. Loop Coffee 2180 W 11th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

It’s hard to get much cooler than a combination coffee shop/record store. Especially if that business happens to be in Tremont, one of Cleveland’s coolest neighborhoods. Dave Foran, LOOP's owner and roaster, has created some sweet roasts through experimentation and deviation from the norm, all of which are available to try in store. LOOP's downstairs features a curated music selection with great deals and an emphasis on up-and-coming local artists.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Erie Island Coffee Company 2057 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115 (East Fourth)

Inventive espresso drinks are what's on order at this Gateway District roastery. Ivory mocha "frappes" and maple root beer lattes are the perfect winter warmer, while we're already lining up for Erie Island's better than most iced chais once the temperature hits 70. Located just off East Fourth street, it makes it an ideal spot for people-watching during any season.

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8. The Coffee House at University Circle 11300 Juniper Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106

One of the coolest things about The Coffee House, a campus favorite for Case Western students, is its location. As the name implies, it’s in an actual house; a quiet, studious haven away from campus, with reliable WiFi and strong brews. For those who would like to be more social, there's an outdoor patio with plenty of tables. The coffee is brewed fresh, there's a wide tea variety and all pastries and desserts are made fresh in house every day. The Coffee House is within walking distance of the Cinematheque, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and several other of Cleveland’s most important cultural locations.

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9. TownHall 1909 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113 (Ohio City)

Eclectic fare rules at this Ohio City hang out. The menu has an extensive list of customizable plates (DIY flatbread) and remixes on American bar food classics (kale jalapeno poppers). You'll feel fancy noshing on Kobe beef bolognese with spaghetti squash at the relative steal price of $11 a pop. TownHall's Bean Bar, where they churn out Kickstarter coffee, roasted fresh with coconut oil and butter, by the mugful, is a solid morning kick stop.

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10. Dewey's Fair Trade Coffee 13201 Shaker Sq, Cleveland, OH 44120

Deweys Fair Trade Coffee is a Shaker Square institution. Its vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, and its crowd is as diverse as the area itself. Dewey's serves custom-locally roasted fair trade coffees in addition to light lunch fare and pastries. Count on the warmth of a fireplace in the colder months, a patio in the warmer months, and free WiFi always. Plan on staying into the evening? You can bring wine and beer to be opened in the cafe for a service fee.

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11. Pour Cleveland 530 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115

While much of the emphasis of the Cleveland coffee scene is on local, Pour in the Gateway District takes a different tack. It sources the roasters it serves from all over the world, assembling an international all-star team of coffee right here in CLE. You won’t find rows of sugary flavored syrups or tons of baked goods at Pour, but you will find a featured list of coffees, switched out every one to two weeks, from as far as Norway and Germany. The pour-over method used to make your cup takes extra time, but it's well worth it. Stop in Saturdays at noon for coffee cuppings (the caffeinated equivalent of a wine tasting) to expand your palate.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Duck Rabbit Coffee 2135 Columbus Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113 (Tremont)

Cleveland's newest craft coffee roaster, duck-rabbit's the creation of java aficionado Cal Verga who was inspired to start his own brew house after a stint at a roastery on the West Coast. Located on the West side of Tremont, duck-rabbit's a cozy brick-walled shop that brews up all your lattes, espresso, and cold brew using locally sourced beans from within Cleveland and its environs. Ground beans are also available for purchase for at-home brewing.

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