Raleigh, N.C.'s Coziest Coffee Shops
Friday, November 08, 2019, 8am by visitRaleigh
When the weather cools down, is there anything cozier than putting on your favorite thrift store sweater and settling in with a book and warm drink at a quaint coffee shop? The Raleigh area has a variety of coffee shops to try this season, each with its own flair, both in the drinks and atmosphere. These are some of the best spots to get your daily dose of caffeine and coziness!
Take your pick of indoor or outdoor seating at 42 & Lawrence, a hip “coffee lab” in downtown Raleigh where cold brew, lattes, coffee sodas and kombucha are all on tap and ready to pour! This shop gives off a cool European vibe but with local coffee and local staff. Keep an eye out on Facebook for occasional events. The menu also changes with the seasons, so plan your visit to enjoy seasonal favorites.
The Mill, a true Fuquay-Varina favorite, is great place where lovely afternoons can turn into lively evenings. Get your work done, fueled by delicious coffee and teas, and later, celebrate your productivity by enjoying one of the 20 local beers on tap. This two-story, community-centric shop also features live music on Fri. nights and special events throughout the year, including an awesome New Year’s Eve party. Whether you’re looking for a caffeine buzz or another kind of buzz, The Mill has got you covered.
Insider tip: The Mill’s website has all its weekly specials, so don’t miss out on great deals!
Named one of America's best new restaurants in 2019, Heirloom Brewshop is eager to impress Raleigh visitors with its Asian-inspired food, drinks and aesthetics. You can find this coffee shop/sake bar in Raleigh’s booming Warehouse District, not far from Morgan Street Food Hall, Father & Son Antiques and Junction West. It’s the ideal nook to enjoy a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of a busy season. The coffee shop not only serves up masterful drinks but also seamlessly blends the different cultures the shop incorporates into its offerings. Husband-and-wife team Chuan Tsay and Anna Phommavong spent weeks traveling through Asia doing research before opening the space in the fall of 2018. Settle for a spell and enjoy the ambiance with a sake cocktail or pour-over coffee.
Morning, noon and night, Sola Coffee Café is producing some of the most delicious food, tea and coffee in the North Raleigh area. Home to the gorgeous “I Believe in Raleigh” mural, this family-owned neighborhood cafe has been an inviting community space since 2012. Getting that perfect mural photo isn’t the only reason you should check out this shop in the Greystone Village Shopping Center. There’s also the indoor and outdoor seating, a dog-friendly patio and live music every Fri. and Sat. night. Best of all, you can order from a selection of delicious hot mini donuts, the perfect accompaniment to any steaming mug of java.
Cup A Joe is an old-timey, classic coffee shop with two locations in Raleigh—one on Hillsborough St. and one in Mission Valley Shopping Center, both just steps from the campus at North Carolina State University. The shops’ bright colors and artsy wall posters coupled with the delicious coffee will guarantee you stay wide awake on those sleepy winter days. For the perfect gift idea, grab a Cup A Joe-branded mug and T-shirt before you leave.
Insider tip: The black-and-white cake is pretty famous in the area and should definitely make its way into your tummy. Also, check out the daily specials calendar so you don’t miss the next “Milkshake Monday” or “Wired Wednesday.”
On downtown Raleigh's E. Hargett St., Morning Times is a great place to get updated on the day's news while munching on an omelette, breakfast sandwich, the morning mac (yes, it's super) or another breakfast item fave. Morning Times also has lunchtime eats, such as their spicy chicken sandwich and Reuben melt. "Morning" is in the name but the shop's open through 10pm every day. For a cozy coffee shop vibe, head up to the second-floor room, with interesting art and a laid-back atmosphere.
This hip Hillsborough St. coffee bar is housed in a building that dates back to 1904. The exposed brick, eccentric art and mood lighting add to its naturally-cool vibe and make it an excellent hangout spot for chatting with friends or just enjoying a good book. With every visit (because repeat trips are inevitable), try something different, from the locally-sourced coffee to the 22 varieties of loose-leaf tea, from the 30+ wines on hand to the six rotating beer taps. There are also pastries, “light bites” and a variety of wonderful gluten-free options!
This coffee, cocktail and dessert lounge—you decide on the order you want those items in—is a perfect spot to start your morning with coffee and a house-baked pastry, fuel up during the day or cap off a fun night downtown. If you're feeling adventurous, ask your barista for a recommendation—you may end up with a drink like the Black & Coke (chilled espresso and Mexican Coke) or the Daywalker (chilled espresso with bitters and ginger beer). You can't go wrong!
A staple in downtown Raleigh, Sir Walter Coffee is known for an amazing retro atmosphere as well as a fabulous menu. Open all hours of the day, you can get your perfect beverage at the perfect time. This cafe is a treat for the senses with its vibrant orange and grey furniture, magnificent artwork and optional outdoor seating. Whether it’s morning waffles and coffeehouse classics, afternoon espresso and bubble tea, or evening tea cocktails and beer, you’ll enjoy whiling away the hours at this delightful cafe. Cater to your pumpkin obsession with a fall menu featuring the unforgettable Pumpkin Pie Latte.
“There’s nothing common about these grounds.” That’s what Common Grounds, located in Apex, boasts—and it’s absolutely true. From seasonal specials like an Irish Cream Mocha and Peppermint Patty Latte to savory desserts like cheesecake, this cozy coffee shop dazzles on a chilly winter’s day. With eclectic décor, handmade mugs and Pinterest-like signs for sale, you might just walk away with more than a coffee to-go.
Benelux Coffee is roasted in Raleigh’s Village District with a cafe serving made-to-order Belgian waffles. Admire the coffee-bean mural constructed from beans of various shades while you enjoy your warm cup of coffee. And take some coffee beans to go—a perfect holiday gift for all your coffee-loving friends.
Tucked away in Holly Springs is a small, family-owned boutique and coffee shop with the most adorable name. Thanks A Latte was started by a mother-and-daughters trio who wanted to make a welcoming and encouraging space for people to enjoy a tea or coffee. While you’re there, sip on a Charleston latte while enjoying a warm white chocolate baguette. You can also get a head start on your Christmas shopping by exploring the shop’s boutique. One visit, and you’ll truly get why this place exemplifies "Southern charm at its finest."
BREW Coffee Bar
BREW is a coffee and beer bar that brings coffee and beer lovers together in Raleigh's Seaboard Station and also in downtown Cary at The Cary Theater. Well-known for their delicious pour-over coffee options and lattes, their handcrafted coffee experience takes longer but is totally worth the wait. If it's a little warmer outside or if you're in the mood for something a little different, enjoy a nitro-cold, smooth brew that pours like a Guinness.
With a mission of reconnecting communities with small businesses, Full Bloom is truly a hidden treasure in Garner. The shop is as dedicated to the farmers who supply the coffee beans as much as it is to the customers who regularly drop by. Stop in for a bag of Fair-Trade beans or try the innovative Honey Brew Cold Brew (an energizing infusion of organic cold brew coffee and 100-percent pure honey). If you’re not in the mood for coffee, go for the tea, beer or delicious homemade paninis.
This North Raleigh cafe in the European-style Lafayette Village weighs, grinds and brews to order. Delicious coffee—the best from around the world is sourced—is prepared by the cup, ensuring every cup is as great as the next. Their waffles are stand-out and especially delicious when topped with fresh fruit. There’s also a location at the Aloft Raleigh on Hillsborough St., right near all the downtown Raleigh action.
Relax with a cup of joe at this spot in Raleigh's Five Points neighborhood. The atmosphere makes it easy to kick back, with rich red Oriental rugs, warmly-hued walls and exotic glass lanterns suspended from an antique tin ceiling.
Fun fact: Owner David Benson is the artist responsible for creating the giant Raleigh Acorn, built in 1992 to celebrate the city's bicentennial anniversary and dropped from the sky annually at midnight at the First Night Raleigh New Year's Eve celebration.
Header photo: Garrett Poulos