Best for tried-and-true downtown hipsters: PublicUs
When I first stumbled across PublicUs, I immediately fell in love with it, and then felt heartbroken by the thought of its imminent closing. Those were different days for DTLV, especially this stretch of East Fremont where most of its neighbors were abandoned motels and a Siegel Suites. But, six years later, you can’t even find a seat inside if you don't get there by 9am on weekends. PublicUs is simply a phenomenal place, roasting its own coffee (among the best in Vegas) and baking all their own breads and pastries in-house and they are excellent. There are also booze-free, espresso-infused spins on classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the gin and tonic. The breakfast and lunch menu has a bit of a Hawaiian fusion vibe and highlights include the shakshuka, the French toast, the seasonal "Pumpkin Crunch" dessert, and the fruit toast. (And, by God, if they have the bread pudding, get it.) This is a great place to work during the week, with lots of different seating arrangements in the beautifully designed space.
Public Works is located on the ground floor of the recently constructed new offices of TSK Architects -- hence its beautiful design -- and it has introduced a whole new kind of coffeehouse experience to downtown Henderson. Charming and centrally located for all the action and festivals on Water Street, Public Works brews up locally roasted pour-over, French press, cortado, nitro cold brew, coffee or tea latte, a barista special (like the Turmeric Chai Tea Latte), or loose-leaf tea. The coffee bar also carries an assortment of scratch pastries and breakfast, brunch, and lunch items (including hearty vegan options) from other local food purveyors, as well as a solid selection of beer and wine, which is half-off from 4pm to close.
Best for vegans and/or their LGBTQ friends: The Jolt
You don't have to identify as either vegan or LGBTQ to enjoy the Jolt ("jump on the love train"), located in the more residential area of downtown Las Vegas in the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada. But if you do identify with either of those groups, then you will definitely want to check this place out. Spacious and comfy with lots of seating, a lovely outdoor space, and ample free parking, the Center supports the LGBTQ+ community through a wide variety of programming, events, and resources. The Jolt is the breakfast and lunch café that operates daily inside the Center, serving locally roasted coffee and espresso drinks, house-made pastries (including vegan options), as well as a robust menu of sandwiches that will satisfy hungry carnivores and vegans alike -- the pulled jackfruit will fool anyone. On Sundays, there’s an all-vegan brunch buffet, and on any given day there's usually some special kitchen creation not on the regular menu.
Best for those want that new new: Coffee Religion
W. Charleston Blvd.
Coffee Religion is a brand-spankin'-new spot on Charleston just a bit east of the CSN Charleston campus, and it is terrific. Ask about the giant Buddha statue that is the centerpiece of the café -- it was designed by the owner's grandfather originally for the King of Burma, and she had it shipped overseas at no small expense. This is just one of the many things that are endearing and unique about this place, which serves Mothership coffees and signature drinks (try the Purple Rain or the Mardi Gras) and an assortment of house-made pastries and hearty toasts. Plus, there is plenty of seating so you can hang out all day, occasionally gazing at the Buddha for inspiration.
W. Charleston Blvd.
Yaw is a teeny-tiny space, and is yet another stellar small-batch local roaster that has recently popped up. If you want to complete your Vegas roaster bingo, this place is imperative. While Yaw might not be the best option for hanging out for long stretches -- there's no Wi-Fi, on purpose, and seating is pretty limited -- you'll still be tempted to, because the interior is super cool. The owners built the wood-and-epoxy counters, and do pretty much everything else, too, from roasting the beans from small and micro-lot farms to making hand-poured soaps from spent espresso beans, coconut oil, and goat milk. The pastries from Café Breizh and chocolates from JinJu Chocolates, are outstanding, as are the exclusively oat milk lattes, like the house special "Yawtte." People also love the iced coffees: try the new creation, the "KWADZILLA," a four-shot beast made with white chocolate. Everything done at Yaw is all about coffee craftsmanship, so if you're a serious coffee enthusiast, this place is an absolute must. Just don't plan on putting in an eight-hour shift here. (Seriously. Don't be that guy.)