Sometimes getting work done is tough, especially if you are trying to do it at home. A little caffeine and a change of scenery is sometimes the perfect cure for those unmotivated moments.
Author note: All coffee shops on the list are locally owned, offer free wifi, and have gluten and dairy free options.
Adda Coffee and Tea House
You may have seen Adda driving down Highland Ave. It’s hard not to miss the bright turquoise exterior and inviting sign. Adda’s atmosphere is light and airy. They offer an array of coffee and tea drinks, specialty concoctions, and a small food menu. Plus, portion of your purchase goes toward two different charities. Each month Adda commits to donating to two charities — one local and the other tied to their spotlighted region of the month.
The Abbey Coffeehouse
Yes, that Abbey — the restaurant in Lawrenceville. Many don’t know they have an entire section dedicated to their coffeehouse? It’s old world charm, eclectic decor, and dim lighting will not only inspire you but allow you the focus you need. They also have an outdoor section made up of couches and partially covered by umbrellas if you prefer to move your work outdoors. Since Adda also has a full restaurant and bar, it’s the perfect spot to hunker down if you need a place to spend your day. Grab your coffee, then lunch, and maybe even a little happy hour afterward.
If you are a fan of aesthetics, you won’t want to leave the Bureau. Lending their mixed century, warm, yet minimalistic design to the space is Schoolhouse, a high-end home decor, lighting, furnishings store which shares a space with the coffee shop. Both are relatively new to the scene; they opened their doors in the fall of 2018. When you regain your focus from admiring the decor, the bureau’s menu offers coffee, tea, and a small assortment of fresh pastries.
Commonplace Voluto, Commonplace Point Breeze, Commonplace Squirrel Hill
You can’t talk about one and not the other! All three are located within 5-10 minutes of each other, but each brings their own charm to the area. The Squirrel Hill location offers a covered patio in the front in the middle of downtown Squirrel Hill giving you a chance to people watch in between work. Point Breeze is nestled in the heart of Point Breeze. While the indoor space is not large, like Adda, their large windows bring in all the outdoor sunlight. Voluto is located in Garfield off Penn Ave. and offers a creative vibe and plenty of shared seating.
Placed in the neighborhood of Regent Square, Biddle’s may not be visible from the main road, but you cannot miss their eccentrically colored building once on S. Trenton Ave. Inside, they offer almost everything to fit your drink and food needs: tea, coffee, smoothies, pastries, and sandwiches. Biddle’s is a place you can fully escape for an entire day. You have multiple options for seating as well. Work outside on their large patio or downstairs in the hustle and bustle. If both are too distracting, head upstairs. There seems to be an understanding among patrons that the upstairs space is meant to be quiet.
On the main drive of Ellsworth Ave., Arriviste has a simplistic way about it. Their space is modern, open, and comfortable. While it may not be the ideal space to bring a group to work together, it is perfect solo or with a friend. Along with tea and coffee, they offer a small selection of pastries from local businesses.
Besides having a strong presence on the Carnegie Mellon campus, Tazza D’Oro has a couple of freestanding stores, including one located less than a mile from the entrance to Highland Park. They exclusively sell Counter Culture Coffee, but also have a menu of tea and sandwiches. If you can grab them, the prime seating areas are in the front at the window nooks, which provide the best mix of sunlight, people watching, and a dash of privacy..
Coffee Tree Roasters – Shadyside
Another local store with multiple locations, Coffee Tree Shadyside is located amongst the busy shops on Walnut St. Not only is there ample seating inside, there are a couple closed-in areas perfect for group work. During the warmer months, they open the front window of the store so you can enjoy a nice warm breeze.