Cafe Civilization

While the simple storefront at W. 11th St. & Kenilworth Ave. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood might look simplistic — and while a curious foray onto the website of said business might take you back to the early age of the internet — Civilization Coffee is, in practice, and exceptional experience. The fresh smell of coffee grounds that greet you when you enter this restaurant. Yes, Tremont is a trendy area, but the artful simplicity of a neighborhood coffee shop is an art that has become lost in the era of uber-connectivity. And this shop seems to shy away from the gimmicks in favor of that one simple, comfortable experience. 

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La Colombe Coffee Roasters

There are 26 locations of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, but the Philadelphia-based chain has concentrated on the East Coast, with most locations in New York City. Often innocuous — one location is built into an old warehouse near Hudson Yards that looks almost indistinguishable from the outside. But it’s a perfect little dive to grab a cup of coffee with a friend or two and enjoy some pleasant Conversation. Unusually spacious for a coffee shop in New York City, this place has an extra allure in that they roast their own coffee here and serve it with a small menu of baked goods and other things. Easy to overlook, hard to forget.

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Central Perc European Cafe

For 20 years the main stretch of Oakwood has been served with a very friendly little coffee shop called the Central Perc European Cafe. Coffee shops and smoothie stations have popped up around it in the time since then, and you could still drive right by this little shop without seeing it unless you knew exactly where to look. But it’s one of few really nice British tea houses in the Dayton area, and the menu here is definitely worth discovering.

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Underdog Cafe

Yellow Springs, Ohio has the benefit of a few really nice coffee shops in town. The notoriously eccentric little village supports them, too; each brings a little bit of a different experience to the table, with the Underdog Cafe and Emporium Wines being host not only to a wine and bottle shop on one end, but also being host to a series of pleasant local artists on a regular basis. Bring a book and grab a mug, because this is the shop you’re really going to want to linger in for awhile.

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The Coffee Pot

Greenville, Ohio is about as small-town-America as they come, and this border town between Dayton and Indianapolis is home to a lot of wonderful experiences you would only find in a place like that. Its homely charm extends to the local restaurant scene, where charming unique concepts abound. One of the main coffee shops in town, The Coffee Pot has it all—good coffee, nice drinks, baked goodies and soups and sandwiches that will keep you coming back for lunch, as well. This is the right kind of coffee shop to spend the afternoon relaxing with a good book or conversation.

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Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar

46 West Fifth Street Dayton, OH 45402 937.223.7375 website Opened in downtown Dayton as a coffee shop serving the sometimes-overlooked areas near Sinclair Community College, Third Perk Coffeehouse has a selection of drinks as well as food and other things that keep people coming back.  With a concept that doubles as a sometimes – wine … Continue reading

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Stauf’s Coffee Roasters

A neighborhood coffee and tea shop with a few locations around Columbus, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters is a bistro with a specialty in roasting its own coffee and making its own tea. While that by itself is a rare thing indeed, the best part about this little coffee shop is by far the atmosphere at each location; it’s really a place that feels like a comfortable and friendly environment, even in the bustle of a city. The drinks here are made to be appreciated, as is the atmosphere.

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Mean Bean

This little coffee shop operation in the suburban Western Columbus neighborhood this little coffee shop operation in suburban western Columbus neighborhood is a tiny independent operation peddling frozen drinks, coffees, and some baked goods at inexpensive prices. The real beauty of small independent coffee shops like this one is the atmosphere that they create; as such, Mean Bean is built for convenience. Not only does it sport a drive-through for a quick cup of coffee, but the spot has a nice interior with spacious tables where you can sit and enjoy a book or the company of friends while drinking a cup. I found the place to be pretty simple but it does deliver that independent feel.

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Ghostlight Coffee

The South Park neighborhood near downtown Dayton is rapidly taking shape as one of the hippest neighborhoods in town. While many of the major chain restaurants haven’t established a foothold along the Wayne Ave. stretch, its community bars and food spots make for a unique atmosphere. The neighborhood’s popular groundswell rallies around Ghostlight Coffee, a place where you can get a lot of creative brews and spend some time. Ghostlight’s popularity is well known among downtown dwellers, but even as far out as the suburbs, it’ll be hard to find a coffee spot more Dayton-proud than this one.

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Coffee Nature

Little local coffee shops are an increasingly dying breed, especially in a vibrant and younger town like Washington DC. Every corner has a Starbucks or an Au Bon Pain or some other big name. And while there’s always a crowd who loves those spots, there’s also a crowd who wants to go somewhere where they can really feel like they’ll find a unique, lower-key experience. Coffee Nature, in Tenleytown near where Washington and Maryland meet, sits among a row of local restaurants, definitely off the beaten path from many of the most popular neighborhoods. Still, it’s a pleasant and economical experience.

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