August is National Coffee Month, and when it comes to coffee in Seattle, we mean business! Literally. It’s common to see people conducting their business in one of our many corner coffee shops. Really, why not finish designing your client’s website in a leather armchair with a freshly poured latte?
But not all Seattle coffee shops are created equal. Starbucks and many other corporate coffee chains may have started in town, but the best coffee and work atmosphere can be found in these independently-owned gems.
Joe Bar Cafe
Right down the street from Cornish College of the Arts in Capitol Hill, Joe Bar is a hip, artsy little den perfect for spreading out and getting to work. Something about Joe Bar feels especially romantic when it rains and it trickles down the large paned windows. The baristas, most of whom are music and art students at Cornish, are incredibly friendly, interesting and play some of the best new music as they work. The menu at Joe Bar, too, is more than great espresso drinks and teas—they also make killer salads, paninis and crepes. Try the mozzarella, tomato and basil crepe when you get hungry between projects. 810 E. Roy St.
Way in the back of Elliott Bay Bookstore, Little Oddfellows is a quiet, book-teeming haven. Patrons can’t help but look and feel like geniuses as they sip their cappuccinos among pictures of Virginia Woolf, and the black and white minimalist décor gives the room a very spacious feel—one that leaves room for plenty of profound work breakthroughs. Plus, Little Oddfellows has some of the best biscuits in town. Order one with jam and you won’t be disappointed. 1521 10th Ave.
Union Coffee in Capitol Hill. Photo by Lenaig Delisle.
Union Coffee in the Central District is so nondescript and tucked away, it’s easily missed. Look for the hanging oval “coffee” sign, deliciously-pulled ristretto shots and a beckoning soundtrack. Owner Zack Reinig, in fact used to be a heavyweight soundman in town, working with artists like The Shins. He channeled his sound design talents into Union Coffee, outfitting the shop with a sound system and other equipment that makes Union Coffee, “the best sounding coffee shop in the world,” he says. But don’t worry, Reinig keeps the music chill and energetic, making the environment optimal for those punching their time card. 2407 E. Union St. Suite B
Herkimer Coffee (Phinney Ridge)
A no-nonsense coffee shop with a real neighborhood feel, this Herkimer is a frequent haunt for computer programmers, writers and other people turning the café into their offices. Herkimer’s menu is pretty bare bones, but you won’t be disappointed—they roast their own beans in-house and the result is a chocolatey coffee that goes down nice and smooth. The atmosphere is especially nice at this Herkimer location because there are so many regulars, including dogs. Though the café doesn’t allow dogs inside, there are always at least a couple tied to the bicycle rack outside just waiting for you to come pet them during a work break. 7320 Greenwood Ave. N.
Narrative is a little outside of Seattle, in Everett, but it’s worth the drive. Newly opened, Narrative is spacious and well-lit, with two massive skylights lending a grandeur to the place. The space is soft, quiet and clean as well – perfect for hitting the books with a delicious pick-me-up. Plus, the shop is run by Maxwell Mooney, a barista who just placed 12th in the U.S. Coffee Championships in June. Yeah, the coffee is that good. 2927 Wetmore Ave., Everett
Analog in Capitol Hill feels like a charming old schoolhouse with a brick exterior, chalk boards, books and newspapers, and school chairs straight out of junior high chemistry class adorn the patio. The studious vibes bode well if you have a mountain of work to do, too. Analog serves a revolving array of local coffee roasts and pastries, even offering a few vegan options. 235 Summit Ave. E.
Fuel Coffee (Wallingford)
Fuel Coffee has three locations in the Seattle area, but the one in Wallingford is the place to be productive, with a separate back section intentionally kept quiet for those trying to work. Plus, Fuel’s coffee drinks are as local as the shop. Fuel uses coffee from Caffe Vita—a company that, since 1995, has been roasting some of the best beans in Seattle and training thousands of Seattle’s hardworking baristas. The only downside is that this locale is a little smaller and tables can fill up fast. 1705 N. 45th S.
Fix Coffee House is another independent shop that serves regional beans, in this case bold, nutty Stumptown. Fix is located right by Green Lake, making it a good spot to get some emails answered before a run or leisurely paddle. Fix has ample seating and a ton of electrical outlets, making it super convenient to plug in your laptop and grind away for the day. Be warned, though, they often put sports games on the televisions and host events at night, so it can get loud and crowded. But time your trip right and Fix can be the perfect place to get stuff done. 6900 East Green Lake Way N.