An abundance of coffee is a major perk of living in a city, and Pittsburgh is full of hip coffee shops for when you’re craving a little more atmosphere than Dunkin’ and a little less overpricing than Starbucks. Or just for when you’re in the mood for good, high-quality coffee and espresso.
The hunt for your new favorite Pittsburgh coffee hub ends here. I’ve gone ahead and visited some of the best coffee shops in the neighborhoods surrounding Oakland and highlighted what sets these coffee shops apart (besides exceptional coffee, which every shop on this list has on lock).
The front wall of Zeke’s in East Liberty is all windows, letting in beautiful natural light for when your apartment’s lack of windows is darkening your soul. Fresh flowers and freshly baked goods made with organic and local ingredients are also available to feed the soul.
When you step into Big Dog Coffee in South Side, you’re not sure if you’re in a pop art museum or your cool aunt’s vintage living room, complete with wood-burning fireplace, comfy couch chairs, outdoor back patio—it’s fabulous.
Big Dog carries Intelligentista Coffee, a company that has a really awesome and unique mission to ensure that you get the best coffee in the best possible way. (Coffee enthusiasts: read more about Intelligentista’s direct trade here and get inspired.)
Another Big Dog highlight—they make homemade pumpkin syrup, which they use to make top-notch pumpkin drinks in the fall that are anything but #basic.
Commonplace has a crisp, simple atmosphere with big windows to let the sun shine in. The menu is simplistic and straight-forward (no crazy frilly drinks here), but has plenty of coffee options including drip, Chemex, and pour-over styles in addition to espresso. You can try it out at one of their many locations in the area.
I should point out that Commonplace is not the place to go if you’re looking for a meal with your coffee; they have some snacks but good coffee really is the main event here.
Beehive serves up coffee, sandwiches, milkshakes, beer shakes (yeah, you read that right) and more. Beehive has a fully stocked bar to make alcoholic drinks like coffee cocktails, making it the perfect coffee shop to hit up before you turn up at one of South Side’s bars.
They’re also open early in the morning—like until 2 am, early, for when you need an escape route from the creepy guy/girl you just met on the dance floor.
PS for all the youngin’s out there: Thursday-Saturday you have to be at least 21 to enter after 9 pm.
I asked the barista at Constellation what his favorite drink on the menu is. He said it’s not on the menu—so apparently there’s a secret menu at Constellation and this drink, called the Little Beebee (B.B.? Bibi?), is on it.
It’s made with just espresso, some almond milk, and ice cubes. It comes in this cute little cup, and then you drink it and your day/life is made significantly better/more complex as you wonder how these three ingredients can create something so special.
Lili in Polish Hill has full breakfast and lunch menu with plenty of vegan and GF options made with fresh ingredients—there’s literally fresh fruit and veggies in baskets hanging from the ceiling.
The main seating area in Lili has big windows to let in lots of light and plants lining the windowsills (photosynthesis is in full motion here, people, so the oxygen in Lili is phenomenal). The back room is the perfect, cozy lamp-lit place to sit and read a book while you sip your latte.
This South Side coffee joint has a pretty bangin’ food menu (which includes lots of vegan options, like this vegan tartine that may or may not have fallen from the heavens) in addition to great coffee and espresso.
The walls of Delanie’s are also covered from floor to ceiling in artwork by local artists, so you can get your art fix and caffeine fix at the same damn time.
8. Tazza D’Oro
Tazza D’Oro translates into “cup of gold”, so you know what you’re getting yourself into before you even walk in. The shop sells Counter Culture Coffee, a company that prides itself on cultivating sustainability and transparency in their coffee trade.
In addition to coffees and teas you can also get paninis here, and special breakfast paninis that complement your coffee are sold on weekend mornings.