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Austin's Coffee Culture

The Buzz on the City's Best Coffee

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Austin’s hipster, university vibe lends itself to great coffeehouses, which also happen to be a great placer to score a cheap bite. Here are some of my favorites.

Jo’s Hot Coffee & Good Food: Jo’s has to be the best place for people watching in the entire city. What was once a modest coffee kiosk has blossomed into an uber-cool hangout for South Congress Avenue groupies, who flock to its retro-painted chairs to do the New York Times Sunday crossword and shamelessly ogle the attractively dressed passers-by. Going to Jo’s is a quintessential Austin experience. And the coffee ain’t bad, either. Drop by early for delicious breakfast tacos, or stop by in the afternoon for some live music and a cold beer. 1300 S. Congress Ave.; (512) 444-3800; www.joscoffee.com

Spider House: One of my favorite hangouts in Austin, Spider House caters to a mixed group of studying students, business-minded young professionals and aspiring musicians. I love it for it’s wide back patio, frequent live music and oh-so delicious baked goods. Spider House also has a full bar and a great all-day happy hour with daily specials such as $5 martinis (Monday), $2 Lone Stars (Tuesday), $5 Mexican martinis (Wednesday), $3 margaritas (Thursday). Wine is $3, Lone Star and Pabst Blue Ribbon are $2 and well drinks are $3 all day every day between 7 a.m. (yes, 7 a.m.) and 7 p.m. 2980 Fruth St.; (512) 480-9562; www.spiderhousecafe.com

Flightpath Coffee House: One of Austin’s oldest coffeehouses is also one of Austin’s best-kept secrets, nestled into the quaint Hyde Park district near the University of Texas campus. Calling itself a “home office away from home,” Flightpath prides itself on being a quiet place to study, work or play. A variety of food items are available, as is beer and wine. 5011 Duval St.; (512) 458-4472; www.flightpathcoffeehouse.com

Flipnotics: It may be a coffeehouse, but Flipnotics has also long been a supporter of Austin’s live music scene, hosting shows by local musicians most nights a week. The coffee here is also top-notch, as it the laidback, friendly atmosphere. And it’s location, just blocks from the always popular Barton Springs pool, can’t be beat. 1601 Barton Springs Rd.; (512) 480-8646; http://flipnotics.com

Quack’s 43rd St. Bakery: If you’re looking for the perfect cookie, muffin or slice of cake, this is the place to go. Everything I’ve tasted here has been spot-on perfect. And thanks to a wide dining room with lots of tables, it’s a comfortable place as well. Once you’ve got a satisfactory buzz, take a stroll around the block, where quaint houses and small shops abound. 411 E. 43rd St.; (512) 453-3399

Mozart’s Coffee Roasters: Thanks to its wide, winding deck that spreads over Lake Austin, you’d be hard pressed to find a prettier spot for a cup of Joe than Mozart’s, where coffee is bottomless and the cheesecakes are to die for. I’ve spent many a lazy Saturday afternoon lounging on one of the outdoor picnic tables, reading a book or chatting with friends. This is also a great date night spot – grab a slice of cake to share and watch the moonlight reflects on the water. 3825 Lake Austin Blvd.; (512) 477-2900; www.mozartscoffee.com

Austin Java Café and Coffeehouse: One word: Peanut butter cookies. Long ago I fell in love with the thick, soft, gigantic peanut butter cookies at Austin Java Café. And even in the years since, I’ve yet to find a cookie that matches its perfection. Of course, there are lots of other reasons to visit Austin Java – the delicious coffee drinks, the variety, healthy menu, the perfect location – but the cookies are always the thing that brings me back. This location is the original, although several others have since opened, include one inside the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. 1206 Parkway; (512) 476-1826; www.austinjava.com

Houndstooth Coffee: Located in the North Lamar corridor that has been becoming increasingly hip in recent years, Houndstooth Coffee shines with a solid commitment to really, really good coffee. They’re also known for innovate special events – coffee and cheese party, anyone? – and a solid beer and wine selection. If you haven’t been in, give it a shot. 4200 N. Lamar Blvd. (512) 531-9417; www.houndstoothcoffee.com

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