Passerby will notice the Blue Manatee in Oakley as a down-to-Earth local bookstore, but in fact this little shop in Oakley also has a coffee shop on the side. This Cincinnati suburb is punctuated by a lot of neat little places to stumble upon while you’re wandering down the street. It’s a kid-centered, family friendly way to approach the business; the walls are filled with magnetic boards and buckets of letters at children’s level. The tables have toys in them. It’s hard to step out of the store without spotting an advertisement for a local band or a nearby event. Blue Manatee is a kid-friendly, community-friendly place.
The coffee menu is pretty extensive, probably for the grown-ups to try as their children rummage through the toys, books and games throughout the store. There are plenty of different coffees and coffee-type drinks, from lattes and espressos and smoothies to plain coffee drinks. As you might imagine, the book store doesn’t brew its own coffee; the beans are provided by Lookout Joe. The drinks are pretty simple and straightforward. It’s coffee you’re familiar with, no wild or crazy or distinct flavors, just good, simple coffee. It’s a comfort zone sort of thing; I think you’ll like the coffee primarily for the convenience.
There are a small group of baked items to eat, mostly bagels. The store also does not make its own bagels, but they do prepare them a few different ways, from plain and with a side of cream cheese to simple pizza bagels with tomato sauce and cheddar cheese. These are best fresh by far, definitely the kind of snacks you’d best enjoy while taking a break from looking at the books and toys next door. Oh, there are also some baked goodies, too, but once again these are provided not by store bakers but by Donna’s Gourmet Cookies.
The service is good, as you might imagine it’s a pretty low-stress environment and the people are laid back. Rarely have I seen a rush or a crowd around the store, to its credit. At the same time, the items don’t really come quickly, so these things offset each other.
It’s a given, really, that books and coffee really goes hand in hand. A shop that brings the two together can really be a nice place to bring your family and children for a visit where both young and old will find a place that they like.
- You’ll probably know Blue Manatee most as a children’s bookstore first and a coffee shop second. It’s definitely a family-friendly establishment, but that also means expect kids running around the store, not the serene coffeehouse stereotype.
- There are a few options for bagels and baked goodies, but overall there isn’t an extensive menu. Consider this a good place to snack.
- Also, keep in mind it isn’t open late or differently from the bookstore. Both businesses operate on the same hours.