5 Coffee Shops Design-Obsessed Travelers Need to Visit

 Coffee shops that look as good as their brews taste.

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Photo by: Danasia Fantastic

Danasia Fantastic

There is something about entering a coffee shop that is simply transformative. The smell of coffee roasting automatically makes me feel at once productive and relaxed. Pair this with chic design aesthetics and a chill soundtrack, and I’m in heaven. I know I’m not the only one who feels crazy inspired in these spaces. Just look up #coffeeshop on Instagram! So, how do you improve on perfection? The following unique coffee shops take design (and often, their menus) to the next level, and are worth a visit if you’re nearby.

Situated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, this coffee shop fits right into New York City’s most culturally vibrant enclave.  While the bakery and lunch selections are unlike anywhere else (And, hello!  A wide array of organic wines are on the menu!), it’s the Watermelon Goji  Matchaericano that you can’t leave without trying. But before you even glance at the menu, you’ll be snapping pics of the scenery. This airy café bathed in natural light, feels like a combination of Europe and Miami. There’s greenery at every turn, against bright backdrops. Outside is a modern-meets-French-country patio, while the inside has a greenhouse feel, complete with a glass ceiling. 

While it may be located in Miami Beach, this shop’s vibe is a far cry from a tropical oasis. On the contrary, it’s known to locals as a spot to visit to get work done, thanks in part to the co-working spaces within. Expect a modern, industrial vibe with a combination of honey-colored wood-paneled walls, cement counters, and the glow of Edison bulbs. From local artists’ works hanging on the walls, to the large windows looking out into the trendy Sunset Harbor neighborhood, there’s plenty to take in. They take their coffee very seriously, offering two different variations of espresso (one for each coast of the United States), complete with tasting notes for each. Panther Coffee knows (and shares) the backstory, source, and process of every bean ground in their shop.

This epic Chicago coffee shop is effortlessly hip, and even has a retro pinball machine. You’ll either instantly question your cool factor or feel exponentially cooler just by stopping in. Endless strands of lights create a glow in this large, historic, brick building. The outside has been tagged several times, likely on purpose. Inside, skateboards hang on the walls, some of which are painted brick, made to look as though it’s chipping away. Known for its Boozy Steamers (Anyone for a little sake in their coffee?), donuts (provided by Donut Vault), bourbon-spiced chai, and Military Lattes (green from matcha), Sawada Coffee ain’t your mama’s coffee shop!

This is modern, industrial shop in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood has an open, airy feel unlike your run-of-the-mill coffee shop. Imagine skylights and large windows illuminating a multi-level production roastery, retail and gathering space all in one. What it’s lacking in coziness it makes up for with an immersive coffee experience. Upstairs, enjoy an espresso amongst exposed concrete block walls and wood beams, while looking down on the hustle and bustle below. If a more traditional café vibe is what you’re after, head down to the Affogato Bar on the mezzanine level.

This popular Portland coffee shop has three similar but different locations around the city. The first is actually the tasting room to their roastery, where Coava keeps the menu simple (serving only two selections of hand poured coffee and two selections for espresso based drinks). The aesthetics are no different: sleek concrete and bamboo rule the day. A window-laden, vintage garage door allows natural light to pour into the large, single-story space. Coava’s cafe on Hawthorne has a more expanded menu, with drinks like direct-trade Cocanu mochas, and space more conducive to co-working. You’ll find a very simple color palette of browns and greys (even in the artwork), accompanied by long tables and benches. Coava’s final location on SE Main Street expands their design even still, adding glass tables, a high, white ceiling and greenery to the mix.

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