South Austin tends to feel like the epicenter of independent coffee shops. We have so many, in fact, that narrowing this list down to 10 places was a challenge! What they all have in common is what makes them so South Austin: a combination of organic, locally-roasted beans, free Wi-Fi, food to nosh on, and dog-friendly areas. Despite their similarities, each of these South Austin coffee shops holds a unique allure and has a legion of devotees.
1/ Catahoula Mama’s
This adorable coffee trailer appeals instantly, and the friendly service and delicious coffee seal the deal. Owner Tina Rose has long loved coffee and has a background in Austin’s service industry (Jo’s Coffee and Yard Bar). Catahoula Mama’s, named after Rose’s first dog, brings together a love of Austin, good coffee drinks, and an emphasis on service.
Rose says, “I wanted to have my own coffee shop where I could serve products that I believe in 100 percent. Organic, sustainable, humane, local…I finally got a chance to do it.” This is the newest spot on my list, so go give Catahoula Mama’s some love (parked in front of The ABGB).
1305 W. Oltorf – Website
2/ Once Over Coffee Bar
Once Over remains one of my favorite coffee shops around. The strong coffee is served with a no-nonsense attitude. The place draws a crowd of laptop gazers daily. The stunning backyard patio, adorned with vines and overlooking Bouldin Creek, makes me feel quite writer-y.
Owners Jenée and Rob Ovitt opened Once Over in 2009, nestling right into the new South Austin scene coming to life at the time. They partnered with Austin coffee roaster, Clancy Rose, and now serve their own Wild Gift brand of coffee, too.
2009 S. 1st St. – Website
3/ Irie Bean Coffee Bar
“Live, Love, Be Irie!” is the motto here. What’s not to love? The reggae-casual vibe attracts a host of regulars. The barista was actually complimenting her regulars while sharing what made the place special, when one of them piped up, “It’s our ‘Cheers’!”
Irie Bean hosts events such as adult coloring night and Spanish conversation club. Don’t forget the live reggae music, a nod to this coffee shop’s name and motto. The backyard entices, with large picnic tables and hammock chairs. I could sit there for hours.
2310 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
4/ Dominican Joe Coffee Shop
Large and bright, Dominican Joe welcomes all comers with big smiles and big hearts. Local businesses abound in the area, so the crowd is an unpretentious mix of office types, students, bloggers, and friends. The company opened in 2006 with a mutually beneficial relationship with Austin nonprofit, Makarios, so you can indulge in a tasty coffee and enjoy a case of the warm fuzzies, too.
515 S. Congress Ave. – Website
5/ Houndstooth Coffee
Houndstooth Coffee downtown, housed in a cozy nook, believes in building community. The baristas greet each patron warmly and seem genuinely excited to bring water to my dog. The menu features a classic selection and the place is a hop, skip, and jump from the Texas State Capitol. So grab a drink and stroll the Capitol grounds next time you have a free hour or so.
401 Congress Ave. – Website
6/ Thai Fresh
Thai Fresh, on their coffee shop side, is quaint and relaxed. The ambiance is all coziness, and the coffee is classic, but good. Time seems to slow down when you walk in, and you will more likely catch someone reading a book here instead of clickety-clacking away at a computer or phone. Thai Fresh is well known for gluten-free food options. The gluten-free pastries are on point, and I have a friend who swears by the brunch chicken and waffles.
909 W. Mary – Website
7/ Sage Cafe
Sage Cafe is a simple cafe in a lovely setting, The Great Outdoors nursery. The balcony looks onto the massive gardening mecca. While Sage Cafe has changed over the years, I think they’ve finally found their stride. For breakfast, it’s one of few South Austin coffee shops with savory (vs. sweet) breakfast options, like a fried egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich. They also rock smoothies.
2730 S. Congress Ave. – Facebook
8/ Summer Moon Coffee
It’s all about the beans. And the moon milk. Summer Moon Coffee is always hopping and is a hub for students. This South Austin coffee shop’s wo0d-fired technique constantly wins them new fans who can’t wait to tell you about it. The beans fly off the shelf.
The moon milk is made all the more desirable by the mystery surrounding its ingredients. It is dense and sweet, but enthusiasts swear by its yumminess. Try the popular 007, with two shots of espresso and two shots of moon milk, or go full throttle with the Moonraker, which has four shots of each.
3115 S. 1st St. – Website
9/ Radio Coffee and Beer
Radio is always popping! This coffee shop and beer bar took off with a bang in 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. The expansive patio is gorgeous and welcoming to both people and pups. The food trucks at Radio are both wildly popular, too: Veracruz All Natural Tacos and Cazamance West African food.
This South Austin coffee shop stays one step ahead of its crowd, knowing precisely what to do next to keep them coming back. Bluegrass Mondays, trivia, and outdoor cinema are a few events that keep Radio packed to capacity. They now have a second parking lot to meet demand.
4202 Manchaca Road – Website
10/ Jo’s Hot Coffee Good Food
This impossible-to-miss spot has been a part of the SoCo strip since 1999. Jo’s is the coffee shop for the Hotel San Jose crowd, specializing in a sweet concoction called an iced turbo. Jo’s “i love you so much” graffiti wall is loved and maligned, like every iconic selfie-magnet should be.
With events like Sinner’s Brunch Sundays and pet parades, Jo’s keeps itself relevant. Grab a coffee and a seat, pet your dog, and watch the world go by. Jo’s even has a house band that plays on Sundays.
1300 S. Congress Ave. – Website
Coffee has inspired generations of humans with its enticing aroma and bitter–yet irresistible–taste. Austin seems able to sustain all of these independent coffee shops and more. The variety of options reminds me how lucky I am to live in Austin!
@theAustinot wants to know:
What are your favorite South Austin coffee shops?
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