Best Coffeehouse St. Louis 2004 - The Grind
Readers' Choice: Starbucks
Circa 1957, before coffee became a corporate commodity, beatniks drank strong joe in smoky shops lined with old sofas and little tables. Circa 2004, the Grind is one of those places. It is gritty and different and reminds you why you like the city of St. Louis (and cities in general, really). For starters, you can smoke inside. And you can stay until 3 a.m. -- that right there bumps this hipster haunt, tucked away in a cobblestoned corner of the Central West End, into the upper echelon of local java joints. You can also have a cup of coffee, or not. As at any laid-back café worth its beans, the fetching female help here seem completely unconcerned with whether the place turns a profit. But you probably ought to order anyway, because the espresso maker turns out a reckoning one, and everybody raves about the iced mocha (made with real chocolate milk) and the Café Sua Da, an iced Vietnamese coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. There's pool, there's chess, there's a bemusing mix of college kids, neurotic med students and Strokes wannabes. And did we mention you can stay till 3 a.m.? We did? Must be the coffee.