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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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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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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Press Coffee

Right on the cusp of downtown Dayton’s lively Oregon District, Press Coffee is a little hole in the wall along Wayne Avenue with a small but interesting menu of different coffee drinks. It’s frequented most by the folks who live and work in downtown, and Press has a very distinct feel, with its light wood tables and small countertops where folks have a tendency to meet and read. I’ve tried the spot a few times and in spite of some online criticisms I have found it to be a positive experience.

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Boston Stoker

Large chain restaurants dominate too many of Dayton’s neighborhoods, with the likes of Zagat and other national critiques overlooking too many of Gem City’s home-grown innovations for regional or national brands. One of them is Boston Stoker, a small coffee chain with locations in all of the largest spots in Dayton, representing the major coffee destination in downtown, the Centerville area, and in each of the three Dorothy Lane Markets in town. It’s in this chain of locally-produced coffee spots with a great variety and a great atmosphere, that you find out what Zagat has been missing about this city.

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PIBeanery

While nightspots abound in Put In Bay, a good cup of coffee can be hard to find, indeed. Enter PIBeanery, a coffee shop opened just last year which serves not only your basic cup of joe, but an interesting and diverse set of caffeinated drinks to satiate the early riser’s sweet tooth. Run by a local family, the beanery brings a much-needed low-key coffee shop to the island, which seems to be otherwise devoid of shops specifically dedicated to such a thing. While this will soon change, PIBeanery currently has a monopoly on coffee treats.

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The Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse

Amid the yoga studios, bars, and other class establishments of south 12th Avenue in downtown Nashville, Frothy Monkey is the local coffee establishment. Though the little house hidden from street view with some very strategic plants which make the interior feel hundreds of miles from a major city’s downtown area, it’s hard to miss because of…are those monkey bars out front? Are people supposed to climb on them?

Huh.

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Winan’s Fine Chocolates & Coffees

Downtown Troy is chock full of nice little stores and shops that sell just about anything you could imagine. Really, it’s the epitome of the pleasant, old-fashioned main street. So it’s easy to spot a place like Winian’s Fine Chocolates and Coffees, just a stone’s throw from the town square. The store’s six locations are all similarly located in nice areas of the towns between Dayton and Columbus, and they sell fancy, artisan java product alongside a delicious variety of candies. Sweet and indulgent. Besides, coffee and chocolate goes hand-in-hand, right?

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Grounds for Thought

As one of Bowling Green’s many downtown businesses, Grounds for Thought has carved out a niche as a popular studying spot for students of Bowling Green State University. The tiny hole in the wall is not only a bookstore but a micro roastery importing a variety of beans from South America, Africa and Europe to brew for locals and serve in elaborate drinks (which by the way are often served in beer mugs.) I know there are plenty of coffee houses that double as book shops bu this one just has a unique feel to it.

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