South Austin tends to feel like the epicenter of independent coffee shops. We have so many, in fact, that narrowing this list down to 12 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/ Once Over Coffee Bar
Once Over remains a solid south Austin coffee shop choice. 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
➡ Keep reading: “Once Over Coffee Bar Is Worth a Second Glance”
2/ 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. Not so surprisingly, the coffee shop also hosts live reggae music some nights. The backyard entices, with large picnic tables and hammock chairs. So cozy.
2310 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
3/ 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
4/ Thai Fresh
Thai Fresh, on the 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 versus 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 St. – Website
5/ 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 it’s finally found its stride. For breakfast, this is one of few south Austin coffee shops with savory (versus sweet) breakfast options, like a fried egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich. Sage Cafe also rocks smoothies.
2730 S. Congress Ave. – Facebook
6/ 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 wood-fired technique constantly wins it 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’s 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
7/ 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 Paperboy.
This south Austin coffee shop stays one step ahead of the crowd, knowing precisely what to do next to keep everyone coming back. Bluegrass Mondays, trivia, and outdoor cinema are a few events that keep Radio packed to capacity. The coffee shop now has a second parking lot to meet demand.
4202 Manchaca Road – Website
8/ 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. It’s an Austin classic.
1300 S. Congress Ave. – Website
Spokesman is taking The Yard by storm! This beauty of a coffee shop/craft beer bar earns props for being an all-around wonderful hangout. The place fills up daily with regulars as a magnet for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and service industry folks. Most good places make every customer feel like a regular, somehow even after one visit. Spokesman certainly does.
Local mural artist Briks has painted massive and massively cool characters on the walls here. Spokesman makes delicious salads and sandwiches and sells La Patisserie pastries. It also hosts fun events, such as a monthly Pub Cruze, a beer and bicycle ride to various craft breweries in town, live music, yoga classes, and more.
440 E. St. Elmo – Website
➡ Keep reading: “The Yard Overflows With Cool Hangouts in South Austin”
10/ Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden
Opening in early 2018, Cosmic dove into the local coffee scene with a splash, proving yet again that “If you build it, they will come.” At least if you build it sustainably, with a keen awareness of your potential clientele, and, oh, say, a gigantic, gorgeous garden. Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden seems poised to rock its south Austin location.
No slackers on the food scene, either. Cosmic patrons can grab quality noms from popular food trucks LeRoy and Lewis, and Pueblo Viejo. The coffee shop/bar also offers beer and cocktails. I expect to see Cosmic packed when spring arrives.
121 Pickle Road – Website
11/ Bennu Coffee
This brightly-lit coffee shop is all hustle and bustle, and patrons tend to be hyper-productive. This newcomer to the south side, with a sister shop near the UT campus, appeals to the studious crowd, writers, musicians, and night owls who need that caffeine fix around the clock. Yes, Bennu Coffee is open 24 hours a day.
515 S. Congress Ave. – Website
12/ Stouthaus Coffee
Stouthaus Coffee occupies an unassuming corner near Cane Rosso in Sunset Valley. This quaint coffee shop is known for friendly baristas, excellent coffee, and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a quiet place to kick back and caffeinate. It also has a selection of craft beer. So when you’re ready to switch gears, you can.
4715 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
Thanks for the Lift, Coffee!
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 many 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?