Chain coffee shops are a dime a dozen; they’re crowded, generic, and owned by corporate executives. Thankfully in Pittsburgh, there’s a collection of small and locally owned shops and roasteries providing an escape from the basic, chain-coffee experience.
Speaking of which, here they are, our current favorite Pittsburgh coffee shops combining community, atmosphere and carefully crafted coffee (and espresso, and tea) to make every visit worthwhile.
A coffee shop that has a wood burning fireplace, patio, eye-popping art on the walls, an oatmeal bar AND serves Intelligentsia? This must be a dream. No, that’s a standard day at Big Dog. The lengthy list of teas, plenty of pastries, stellar staff and cozy atmosphere truly put this place over the top and is perfect for escaping the bustle over at South Side Works,
Nowadays Butler Street is bustling, and so too is Espresso a Mano. But this place isn’t packed with patrons who just happen to be passing by. It’s so good it actually lures people to Lawrenceville. From the coffee to the customers there’s artisan aura at this spot, and you’ll likely overhear young professionals discussing their next business idea or creative endeavor.
What began as a plan to sell and service commercial espresso machines has transformed into a cultural gathering place in the Strip District, a keystone for the community. Now La Prima is the place for culture, character, and a shot of espresso that will transport you to the old world. Grab a cupito to stay warm while you stroll Smallman and Penn Ave.
The answer to your caffeine cravings may be written in the stars. Enter Constellation Coffee located on Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville. The space and espresso are like something out of a dream. Beans from Ceremony Coffee Roasters and massive windows make for a stellar espresso sipping experience.
If you’re not looking for it, there’s a good chance you’ll miss this spot along East Carson Street, which is a total shame. Their open-air storefront, art gallery vibes, and second floor loft make for a unique environment. But it’s the variety of food options, like waffles, sandwiches and salads, that really set this place apart from other grab and go coffee spots.
This spot is less of a coffee shop and more of a coffee house, literally. Near the North Side, the coffee laden drinks are on point. But it’s the atmosphere that truly sets this place apart – including great big rooms upstairs that make you feel like you’re working from home (without the distractions), a pet friendly porch and patio, plus regular food truck roundups.
“Cup of gold.” That’s what Tazza D’oro means in Italian. And in Pittsburgh, Tazza D’oro means quality, community and great coffee. Tazza has become a staple in the Highland Park neighborhood and newly in Millvale by focusing on barista training, preparing the best coffee available and sourcing food and milk locally. Head here to hideaway on a snowy day and warm up.
A roastery and coffeehouse combo, the Commonplace Company serves coffee and espresso by the cup, as well as beans by the bag. The good news is, you’re probably pretty close to one right now, with locations inside Smallman Galley, on the Mexican War Streets, in Garfield, and in Squirrel Hill. Whichever location you choose, we promise your coffee and espresso will be exceptional.
This eclectic coffee shop is funky, groovy and puts the hip in hipster. It’s also an art gallery, performance hall and literary workshop. Sure, they’ve got all of the caffeinated essentials and tea to boot. Plus the huge outdoor deck, pinball machine in back and recurring food truck Wednesday add to the growing list of reasons people are electing to escape to Biddle’s.
Since opening in 2010 Lili has become a centerpiece of Polish Hill. At the same time this place remains a relative unknown to the rest of the city. No more, we say! Next time you’re going between the East End and Downtown, stop in Polish Hill. You can grab a coffee, healthy eats (including vegan and vegetarian options) browse a comic book store and vinyl records all in the same building.
Zekes is definitely taking over the PGH coffee scene in the best way possible. Thanks to Pittsburgh’s supportive community, Zeke’s completed a successful crowdfunding campaign that helped them beat the bulldozer! Aside from the eclectic, open space in East Liberty, you can find them at a variety of shops and cafes around the city.
For all of the Burghers out there who aren’t afraid to cross a bridge, and are willing to take on a tunnel, be sure to stop by this outside-the-city spot. It’s a short trip to this former post office, turned coffee shop. Once inside you won’t want to leave. The stunning two story windows, detailed architecture, rich wood floors and, of course, carefully brewed coffee can easily turn a quick stop into a day trip.
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