No matter which neighborhood you’re in, don’t panic: There is good coffee waiting for you. CineMug
1607 S. Broad St., South Philly
Open since 2015
What if Blockbuster came back to life, was really cool and indie, and made a mean espresso? CineMug, a new addition to the Philly coffee scene, rents movies, hosts in-house movie nights (with an emphasis on cult classics), and pours ReAnimator Coffee from Fishtown — and somehow it all clicks. You can also get tea, pastries, hoagies from Cosmi’s and bagels from one of the only places in town to get a decent bagel, South Street Bagels.
The Last Drop
1300 Pine St, Washington Square West
Open since 1990
“It's like everyone here wants to have sex with you,” said one frequent Last Drop visitor of the hangout’s grunge-and-grad students scene, with everyone eyeing each other just a beat longer than expected. Order a chai latte and a thick slice of banana bread and grab a seat. But bring headphones if you're here for true quiet: There will be someone next to you passionately discussing the experimental play they just wrote. Don't forget to pick up a band flyer on your way out.
1925 Fairmount Ave., Fairmount/Art Museum
Open since 2004
Fairmount denizens lay claim to this friendly, environmentally conscious, community-minded coffee spot serving up fairly traded beans and locally farmed foods, with gluten-free and vegan options, like the tasty “veganator” with veggie sausage, arugula, tomatoes and walnut-basil pesto. The coffee is from Philly Fair Trade Roasters, so you know it’s good, and there’s enough ambient noise that you can kick back on the couch with a friend for a gossip session and no one will give you dirty looks (unless you’re talking about them, of course).
1602 Spruce St., Rittenhouse
Open since 2013
Most of the hype is about the sandwiches — the gooey Pancetta Hash with over-easy eggs, pancetta, potatoes, onions, peppers and fontina cheese on ciabatta will fill you up for hours — but the coffeeis nothing to sneeze at either, and we’ve seen the soy latte get enthusiastic nods of approval from several dairy-free patrons. The Rittenhouse location is best for sitting alone (or stopping by for take out); there aren’t many seats downstairs and tables in the upstairs loft area are packed tight and often taken up by parked studiers. Plenty’s original, also popular, location is on East Passyunk in South Philly, and a Queen Village location is slated to open later this year.
2149 Catharine St., Graduate Hospital
Open since 2012
This narrow neighborhood spot might be accused of taking itself a little too seriously, but we think they’ve earned it. The coffee — from Counter Culture, who has a barista training center upstairs — tastes like we want coffee to, the staff is always friendly, they won’t kick you out if you’ve been sitting there a while, and it has an overall homey vibe. If you’ve always assumed the name was an allusion to the ultimate in coffee (was that just us?), you were wrong: It’s the owners’ last name. The Ultimos’ first location, at 15th and Mifflin, is another solid choice.
No matter which neighborhood you’re in, don’t panic: There is good coffee waiting for you.