Philly's Best Coffee

 

I’ve moved from a “long list” to a “short list”, now focusing on the east-west city strip (roughly Arch to South, Delaware river to West Philly), with a few must-have exceptions. Of course there are many other good places.

 

"T" means enough tables/room to work comfortably for a few hours.
"t" is a less-good "T"
"!" ratings are for overall quality/vibe.

Roughly from east to west:

Menagerie (T!!), 18 S. 3rd. Nice design.
Square One (T!!), 249 S. 13th + others. Bright and airy. Loft can get warm.
Bluestone Lane (T!!), 1 S. Penn Square (next to City Hall, on the south side). Bright Australian vibe. So what if it’s a chain.

Elixr (T!!!), 207 S. Snydenham (near 15th & Walnut) + others. Just right.
Plenty (T!!), 1602 Spruce + others. Always pleasant.
La Colombe, 130 S. 19th (T!!!) + 1335 Frankford (T!!!!) + others. Hats off to both the original19th Street location and the “new” Fishtown location.
Peddler (T!!), 2100 Spring (behind the Franklin Institute).

Rival Bros (t!), 2400 Lombard + others. Quite a tight space.
United by Blue (T!!), 3421 Walnut + others. Used to sell 3/4 expensive outdoor stuff and 1/4 coffee, but they knew their coffee too, and the coffee business took off. Now it’s 9/10 coffee and 1/10 expensive outdoor stuff. Warning: don’t go if you want a straight espresso, which they serve in miserable little paper cups.
Green Line, 43rd & Baltimore (t!!) + 28 S. 40th (T!!) + others. The original at 43rd is classic West Philly, whatever that might mean.
Reanimator (T!!), 4705 Pine + others. West Philly and center city outposts of the Fishtown / Kensington originals. (Also Res Ipsa, 2218 Walnut, same owner, but very tight space.)
 

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