April 26, 2016

20 St. Louis Coffee Shops That Are Better Than Starbucks

We have a message for all you coffee lovers and caffeine addicts out there: put that Starbucks cup down. St. Louis is home to a plethora of amazing local coffee shops for you to enjoy, each with their own individual story, menu and vibe. But how are you supposed to find the right coffeehouse for you? Look no further: we've identified the right coffee shop for every personality and coffee craving. Before you know it, you'll become a regular at one of these spots. Goodbye, national chains; hello, happiness!

We have a message for all you coffee lovers and caffeine addicts out there: put that Starbucks cup down. St. Louis is home to a plethora of amazing local coffee shops for you to enjoy, each with their own individual story, menu and vibe.

But how are you supposed to find the right coffeehouse for you? Look no further: we've identified the right coffee shop for every personality and coffee craving. Before you know it, you'll become a regular at one of these spots. Goodbye, national chains; hello, happiness!

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If you care about the origin of your beans, try ... Blueprint Coffee.
6225 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 266-6808
Blueprint, the two-and-a-half-year-old spot in the Loop, tends not to be a great place for a meeting -- it's always crowded, and unless the person you're meeting is model-thin, they'll probably be uncomfortable in such close quarters. And yet everyone we're trying to network with still insists on coming here -- with good reason. Blueprint is a coffee lover's dream, with baristas who can tell you not only about your beans' provenance, but how they're shipped and what notes you'll discover as you sip. They take coffee as seriously here as sommeliers take wine. No wonder it's always packed. Photo by Marcus Stabenow.
If you care about the origin of your beans, try ... Blueprint Coffee.
6225 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 266-6808

Blueprint, the two-and-a-half-year-old spot in the Loop, tends not to be a great place for a meeting -- it's always crowded, and unless the person you're meeting is model-thin, they'll probably be uncomfortable in such close quarters. And yet everyone we're trying to network with still insists on coming here -- with good reason. Blueprint is a coffee lover's dream, with baristas who can tell you not only about your beans' provenance, but how they're shipped and what notes you'll discover as you sip. They take coffee as seriously here as sommeliers take wine. No wonder it's always packed. Photo by Marcus Stabenow.
If you're a Wash. U student looking for study-session necessities, try....Meshuggah Cafe.
6269 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 726-5662
Are you a Wash. U student looking to get some cramming in? Are you trying to write a paper on Foucalt's pendulum and you've lost your momentum? Friendly, low-key Meshuggah has the free wifi, good coffee and full menu you need, plus beer and wine. And it's right down the street from where you live, so you're already halfway to a table. Photo by Kevin Korinek.
If you're a Wash. U student looking for study-session necessities, try....Meshuggah Cafe.
6269 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 726-5662

Are you a Wash. U student looking to get some cramming in? Are you trying to write a paper on Foucalt's pendulum and you've lost your momentum? Friendly, low-key Meshuggah has the free wifi, good coffee and full menu you need, plus beer and wine. And it's right down the street from where you live, so you're already halfway to a table. Photo by Kevin Korinek.
If you're a Wash. U student too lazy to walk an extra half-mile to Meshuggah, try....Kayak's Coffee.
270 N. Skinker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 862-4447
Let's be honest: the parking by Kayak's sucks. But if you're on foot, and don't want to walk aaaallll that way to Meshuggah (#firstworldproblems), park yourself at Kayak's by Kaldi's Coffee, the bustling corner cafe right at Skinker and Forest Park. With rustic decor and a ski lodge feel, it's a great atmosphere if you're pining for your next break from school. And if you don't want to make your own breakfast/lunch/dinner/mid-day snack, Kayak's has a menu full of breakfast items, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches. RFT photo.
If you're a Wash. U student too lazy to walk an extra half-mile to Meshuggah, try....Kayak's Coffee.
270 N. Skinker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 862-4447

Let's be honest: the parking by Kayak's sucks. But if you're on foot, and don't want to walk aaaallll that way to Meshuggah (#firstworldproblems), park yourself at Kayak's by Kaldi's Coffee, the bustling corner cafe right at Skinker and Forest Park. With rustic decor and a ski lodge feel, it's a great atmosphere if you're pining for your next break from school. And if you don't want to make your own breakfast/lunch/dinner/mid-day snack, Kayak's has a menu full of breakfast items, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches. RFT photo.
If you're into people-watching, try ... Coffee Cartel.
2 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 454-0000
This Central West End hotspot stays open all night long. It also features coffee drinks spiked with either booze, or ice cream, or both -- you pick your poison. But those two features, wonderful though they are, don't even rise to the top of our list of things to love about Coffee Cartel, and that's for one simple reason: there is no finer spot for people watching in all of St. Louis. Where else can you observe the Real Housewives of Hortense Place plan their next charity gala -- even as law school students attempt to sober up from a night on the town and professional dogwalkers pound out their next screenplay? White, black, gay, straight, everyone comes to Coffee Cartel, and St. Louis is better for it. RFT photo.
If you're into people-watching, try ... Coffee Cartel.
2 Maryland Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 454-0000

This Central West End hotspot stays open all night long. It also features coffee drinks spiked with either booze, or ice cream, or both -- you pick your poison. But those two features, wonderful though they are, don't even rise to the top of our list of things to love about Coffee Cartel, and that's for one simple reason: there is no finer spot for people watching in all of St. Louis. Where else can you observe the Real Housewives of Hortense Place plan their next charity gala -- even as law school students attempt to sober up from a night on the town and professional dogwalkers pound out their next screenplay? White, black, gay, straight, everyone comes to Coffee Cartel, and St. Louis is better for it. RFT photo.
If you're a breakfast connoisseur, try....The Mud House.
2101 Cherokee St. 
St. Louis, MO 63118
(314) 776-6599
Why should the time on the clock dictate what you have to eat? At The Mud House, you can get breakfast (or lunch) all day long. And this isn't just typical coffeehouse food -- it is locally sourced and a true coffee shop standout. From chickpea and sweet potato curry to a portobello reuben, you'll never get bored with the menu. And the Mud House is all about being welcoming, so make sure you stand by this saying on the menu: "Be polite, or take a hike." Photo by  Jennifer Silverberg.
If you're a breakfast connoisseur, try....The Mud House.
2101 Cherokee St.
St. Louis, MO 63118
(314) 776-6599

Why should the time on the clock dictate what you have to eat? At The Mud House, you can get breakfast (or lunch) all day long. And this isn't just typical coffeehouse food -- it is locally sourced and a true coffee shop standout. From chickpea and sweet potato curry to a portobello reuben, you'll never get bored with the menu. And the Mud House is all about being welcoming, so make sure you stand by this saying on the menu: "Be polite, or take a hike." Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.
If you've got a sweet tooth, try .... Park Avenue Coffee.
1919 Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 621-4020
Ten years after opening in Lafayette Square, Park Avenue Coffee isn't just going strong -- it's on a growth tear, with the original location joined by outposts downtown and in the Hill, as well as a shop/cafe in Cortex. In some ways, this homegrown chain is St. Louis' answer to Starbucks: It's got the same friendly professionalism and something-for-everyone appeal. But even beyond the whole "local" thing (which is huge), it's got a giant advantage over Starbucks: the amazing gooey butter cake. Co-owners and siblings Dale Allen Schotte and Marilyn Scull adapted their mother's recipe into more than 70 variations of the stuff -- and have had theirs named the best in town by no less than the Food Network. Come for the coffee, but don't forget to stay for dessert. Photo courtesy of Park Avenue Coffee.
If you've got a sweet tooth, try .... Park Avenue Coffee.
1919 Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 621-4020

Ten years after opening in Lafayette Square, Park Avenue Coffee isn't just going strong -- it's on a growth tear, with the original location joined by outposts downtown and in the Hill, as well as a shop/cafe in Cortex. In some ways, this homegrown chain is St. Louis' answer to Starbucks: It's got the same friendly professionalism and something-for-everyone appeal. But even beyond the whole "local" thing (which is huge), it's got a giant advantage over Starbucks: the amazing gooey butter cake. Co-owners and siblings Dale Allen Schotte and Marilyn Scull adapted their mother's recipe into more than 70 variations of the stuff -- and have had theirs named the best in town by no less than the Food Network. Come for the coffee, but don't forget to stay for dessert. Photo courtesy of Park Avenue Coffee.
If you're a mom -- or dad -- raising kids in the city, try ....Hartford Coffee Company.
3974 Hartford St. 
St. Louis, MO 63116
(314) 771-5282
Med-school students and old-man regulars fill the front tables at Hartford Coffee Company, which is separated from a back play area by tall shelves where the shop stores dispensers for bulk-sale coffee beans. Everyone at this Tower Grove shop seems like they'd be just as happy at Starbucks, but isn't it nice there is a non-corporate, neighborhood place that's right around the corner? ("This just feels like a real neighborhood, you know?") The moms are a mix of Pilates students stopping off with their jogging strollers after a run in the park, and oh-so earnest types, who just love that they get to spend all this time with their little ones every single day but, holy fuck, would it be too much to ask to get out of the house for 10 goddamn minutes and not have everyone freak out about you bringing your crying kid somewhere in public? Kids cry, people! You'll live. On that note, Hartford Coffee Company sells plastic cups of goldfish in addition to the air roasted coffee, housemade baked goods and breakfast and lunch options on the menu. Photo courtesy of Instagram / hartfordcoffeeco.
If you're a mom -- or dad -- raising kids in the city, try ....Hartford Coffee Company.
3974 Hartford St.
St. Louis, MO 63116
(314) 771-5282

Med-school students and old-man regulars fill the front tables at Hartford Coffee Company, which is separated from a back play area by tall shelves where the shop stores dispensers for bulk-sale coffee beans. Everyone at this Tower Grove shop seems like they'd be just as happy at Starbucks, but isn't it nice there is a non-corporate, neighborhood place that's right around the corner? ("This just feels like a real neighborhood, you know?") The moms are a mix of Pilates students stopping off with their jogging strollers after a run in the park, and oh-so earnest types, who just love that they get to spend all this time with their little ones every single day but, holy fuck, would it be too much to ask to get out of the house for 10 goddamn minutes and not have everyone freak out about you bringing your crying kid somewhere in public? Kids cry, people! You'll live. On that note, Hartford Coffee Company sells plastic cups of goldfish in addition to the air roasted coffee, housemade baked goods and breakfast and lunch options on the menu. Photo courtesy of Instagram / hartfordcoffeeco.
If you care enough about beans to drive deep into South City, try....Sump Coffee.
3700 S. Jefferson Ave. 
St. Louis, MO 63118
(917) 412-5670
If you're in a hurry, this is not the place for you. If you appreciate coffee like an art, however, there is a cup of joe at Sump Coffee with your name on it. Each cup is made to order, using the method that best highlights the body and flavor of a certain bean. It may be extra work for you to get to this corner of South City, and it may be extra work for the baristas serving up perfection. But sometimes, going the extra mile is worth it. Photo courtesy of Sump.
If you care enough about beans to drive deep into South City, try....Sump Coffee.
3700 S. Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118
(917) 412-5670

If you're in a hurry, this is not the place for you. If you appreciate coffee like an art, however, there is a cup of joe at Sump Coffee with your name on it. Each cup is made to order, using the method that best highlights the body and flavor of a certain bean. It may be extra work for you to get to this corner of South City, and it may be extra work for the baristas serving up perfection. But sometimes, going the extra mile is worth it. Photo courtesy of Sump.
If you're a cool mom, try....Rise Coffee.
4176 Manchester Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 405-8171
Located in the Grove, Rise is the embodiment of LGBT friendly. Plus, there is a side room upstairs with a knee-high fence across the doorway. It's like a giant playpen, where cool moms (and dads) can stash tiny monsters for a bit while they try to one-up the other parents by weaving in tales of Replacement concerts in tiny clubs among half-hearted complaints about how boring they've gotten now that they have kids. But at least they still know good coffee. Photo by Lauren Milford.
If you're a cool mom, try....Rise Coffee.
4176 Manchester Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 405-8171

Located in the Grove, Rise is the embodiment of LGBT friendly. Plus, there is a side room upstairs with a knee-high fence across the doorway. It's like a giant playpen, where cool moms (and dads) can stash tiny monsters for a bit while they try to one-up the other parents by weaving in tales of Replacement concerts in tiny clubs among half-hearted complaints about how boring they've gotten now that they have kids. But at least they still know good coffee. Photo by Lauren Milford.
If you're a multi-tasker, try ... Blondie's Coffee and Wine Bar.
1301 Washington Ave. 
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 241-6100
You may not think of yourself as a person who needs a regular coffee shop. You've got a full-time job -- and, if not an office, at least a pretty nifty cubicle. But Blondie's, the charming coffee bar on the edge of downtown St. Louis near the City Museum, serves as the kind of place on the side that your average cube farm just can't compete with. It's marvelously roomy so you can actually get a little privacy when you need it, but it's also got friendly, efficient service and a full menu. Forget the prepackaged little boxes of rabbit food you'll find at Starbucks -- at Blondie's the breakfast and lunch offerings give Bread Co. a run for its money. Come for that breakfast meeting, stay for a few hours of uninterrupted work, and then transition into an afternoon meeting with a glass of pinot without even moving tables. Photo courtesy of Instagram / blondiesstl.
If you're a multi-tasker, try ... Blondie's Coffee and Wine Bar.
1301 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 241-6100

You may not think of yourself as a person who needs a regular coffee shop. You've got a full-time job -- and, if not an office, at least a pretty nifty cubicle. But Blondie's, the charming coffee bar on the edge of downtown St. Louis near the City Museum, serves as the kind of place on the side that your average cube farm just can't compete with. It's marvelously roomy so you can actually get a little privacy when you need it, but it's also got friendly, efficient service and a full menu. Forget the prepackaged little boxes of rabbit food you'll find at Starbucks -- at Blondie's the breakfast and lunch offerings give Bread Co. a run for its money. Come for that breakfast meeting, stay for a few hours of uninterrupted work, and then transition into an afternoon meeting with a glass of pinot without even moving tables. Photo courtesy of Instagram / blondiesstl.