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4 Best Indie Coffee Shops in Philly

The largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania—and the fifth-most populous city in the United States—Philadelphia is an historic and very diverse city, as well as one of the most entertaining regions of the country, boasting thousands of things to do and see, and an abundance of fun amenities and diversions to keep its people happy and smiling.

Among these great amenities are scores of tremendously successful indie coffee shops, a fairly recent phenomenon in the city that is growing in popularity by the day.  Every day, local residents and tourists flock to these new-style cafes.  Most come in the morning for a daily shot of energy and a delicious snack, while others come to study or partake in an afternoon craft beer.  Either way, the popularity of these new shops cannot be ignored.

In the following article we will introduce you to several of the best and most popular indie coffee shops in the proud city of Philadelphia, and describe for you the coffee and drink menu at each shop, the tasty snacks available, amenities such as Wi-Fi access, and the location and overall layout of each of these cafes.

Bean Café

Situated at 615 South Street in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia, the Bean Café is one of the most popular cafes in this region of the city.  The tasty shop is open every day of the week:  Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM until Midnight, and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 AM until Midnight.

Boasting a true indie and cozy feel, the atmosphere at the Bean Café is a major draw.  The owners of the shop are well-known sponsors of local artists, writers and bands.  Local art adorns the wall of this unassuming shop, which also plays host to live bands, book clubs and poetry readings.  Unlimited Wi-Fi access is available to all customers at no charge, thus making the Bean Café a fairly popular place among students.

As for the menu at the Bean Café, you really can’t beat the selection.  Here you can find all kinds of different lattes, espressos and pour-over coffees in many different flavors.  Hot and cold beverages are available for purchase year round, and their syrups, milk and creamers, which include low-fat options, soy and even almond milk allows you to finish up your drink order to your exact liking.  Holiday drinks, such as Peppermint Lattes (Christmastime) and Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Halloween/Fall) are available seasonally.  The Bean Café also offers a limited menu of snacks and sandwiches.  Make sure you try the banana and zucchini breads with your steaming cup of Joe.

The Bean Café is located in a notoriously run-down neighborhood, making it even more remarkable that they are able to draw such a large regular crowd that consistently stops in here most mornings of the week.

Chapterhouse Café and Gallery

Coffee and art have long gone hand in hand, and both are front and center at the very well-admired Chapterhouse Café and Gallery.  Located at 620 South 9th Street in downtown Philly (Washington Square West), the café is extremely busy, yet cozy, with a variety of seating options, ranging from bar stools (at the coffee bar), desks, and fireside sofas and chairs that are very comfortable and relaxing. Soft music is piped in to complete the soothing vibe, and some very fantastic art, all painted by local and very talented painters, lights up the walls.

The Chapterhouse Café and Gallery serves up all your favorite espresso and coffee drinks, as well as lattes and a great selection of teas.  Some of the specialty beverages available include their Mexican Mocha, three kinds of White Tea, Hot Apple Cider, and their scrumptious Peanut Butter Mocha that is oozing with sweetness.

Free Wi-Fi is available to all customers, which, in addition to the great drinks, food and comfortable surroundings, explains why many of the customers tend to linger here for hours.

Rim Cafe

Situated in the Italian Market quarter of Philadelphia, at 1172 South Street, the Rim Café is one of the few places in the city where you can pick up a genuine Italian coffee, also known as a Lavazza.  In addition to this offering, the bustling shop offers a drink menu that includes large Dark Mochas ($7), Triple-shot Espressos ($5), Cappuccinos and Lattes of various flavors ($5.50) and Siphon Coffees and Teas ($9).  Their specialty menu includes many in-house inspired coffee concoctions, most notably its Volcano, a piping hot chocolate dripping with melted European dark chocolate and chocolate shavings, and erupting with genuine whip cream.

Iced drinks, including teas, lattes and red espressos, are also very popular at the charming and quite unique Rim Café, and their menu of delectable treats include truffles, cannollies, ham and cheese croissants and rich “volcano” brownies.

Cake and the Beanstalk

 Like the Chapterhouse Café and Gallery, the Cake and the Beanstalk is located in the heart of Washington Square—at 1112 Locust Street.  The well-loved shop opened in 2011 to great acclaim and has continued to grow in popularity for the past six years.  Serving as both a café and a bakery, the shop is owned by Dan and Jennifer Klein, who once admitted in an article that they were quite green on the subject of coffee when they first opened.  However, if the size of the crowd here is any indication, they are definitely quick learners.

The name “Cake and Beanstalk” highlights the two main products sold here:  Pastries (cake) and Coffee (beans).  Both owners are talented pastry chefs, whipping up treats such as dark chocolate brownies and chocolate chip blondies, the latter of which earned them a spot on the Zagat’s list of Philadelphia’s “Best 12 Pastries.”  Patrons can also eat from an impressive menu of homemade soups and Paninis.

The Cake and the Beanstalk, which hosts a great outdoor space as well—a space surrounded by a community garden—is open every day of the week from 7:00 AM until 9:00 PM.  Students and hospital employees receive a 10 percent discount on all items in the shop and free Wi-Fi access is available to all customers.

Philadelphia skyline by BruceEmmerling/Pixabay CC0 license

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