Asheville City Guide: Best Places to Drink a Cup of Joe
It’s officially holiday shopping season! And phew, I don’t know about you, but I pretty much always need a caffeine jolt about halfway through a shopping marathon. If you happen to be in Asheville visiting the Biltmore’s Christmas Display (highly recommended!) or you’re new to town or you’re a Gilmore fanatic and just really love coffee, these are my favorite places in Asheville to grab a cup of coffee.
Penny Cup may have been the first coffee roasters I found in Asheville, thanks to Hobbs, who is always on the hunt for the next best thing. They have two locations, downtown and in the River Arts district. While the downtown location has a more “stay a while” kinda vibe, I prefer the RA location (which is really just the roastery + tasting room), simply because it was where Penny Cup all began. It’s fairly small, and it’s certainly a production facility more than a coffee shop. But, seeing the ins and outs of small businesses is something I enjoy, so if you’re looking for more of a place to sip your joe in comfy seats, definitely check out the downtown location. It’s also nearby the shopping so, well, it’s a bit more convenient for holiday shoppers.
Liberty House is one of the newer guys in town. Though they’ve only been open about 9 months, they’re already right at home in North Asheville. They are killing the brunch game as well as any specialty coffee your heart desires. They bring in all local vendors, and I love their “open kitchen” concept where you can watch the chef prepare your food. Something about Liberty Street's bright space and smiling employees gives me all the feels - it's just destined to become an Asheville staple. Though not in my backyard, so to speak, the 15 minute drive north has been made more times than I care to count, and every visitor I've had since they opened has enjoyed Liberty Street about as much I have.
High Five also has two locations, and up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea because they are just a few miles apart! However, they speak to completely different clienteles. The “heart of downtown” location is right next to Tops and Duncan & York, as well as several other businesses. Think exposed brick walls in a historic building. It’s cozy yet someting about the constant buzz makes you forget you’re in small-town Asheville and like you’ve been transported to a big city, people constantly coming in and out for their morning jolt before work. Their “just out of downtown, closer to North Asheville” location is a little bigger with floor to ceiling windows on two sides. Though I'm sure square footage isn’t an insane amount, it feels super spacious and inviting to sit and stay a while.
Again, Izzy’s has two locations (these coffee folks have it figured out). While I haven’t been to their downtown location on Lexington, their most recent venture has opened up right across the street from my apartment building. It’s dangerous. I’ve limited myself to only going once a week. However, the fresh squeezed lemonade (done literally right in front of your eyes) has me questioning if I should up that frequency. Not to mention, the dog friendly patio where Porter and I have spent countless hours working and wriitng this blog post is every entrepreneur’s dream come true. Of course, the fresh baked goods and top notch coffee are a given. But, it’s the friendly atmosphere and homeyness that keep me coming back.
I love the French aesthetic of OWL, and the cappuccino is on point. Given that I fell in love with coffee while studying in Italy, I'm pretty partial to a delicious, European-style cappuccino. Hobbs and I tried Owl for breakfast a few months ago, right when they opened. I got an apple pastry that was delectable, and Hobbs got the quiche - he raved. Okay, well, not really because Hobbs doesn't "rave," but he did eat the whole thing in like 2 minutes flat so that's pretty much the same thing, right? Also, I love that OWL is in West Asheville, always appreciate a neighborhood spot. And, if you're into gorge-ous instagrams, theirs is more than worthy of a peek (@oldworldlevain).
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