A Guide to Pacific Beach Coffee Shops
When taking into consideration their three on-trend Pacific Beach coffee shops, Better Buzz’s cafe sitting down at the end of Grand Avenue, where the ocean water meets the road, represents the upper echelon of java culture in this beachside community; that’s not to mention, their rooftop seating which allows for dreamy cotton candy sunset views! To all you Instagram connoisseurs of cuteness ever on the prowl for an immaculate photo backdrop accentuated by gilded edges, flamboyant geometric patterns, and a bright-turquoise “Life’s Better” neon sign, look no further as there may have never been a more glamorous destination.
Take the adventurous route and flirt with some signature favorites; their Mocha De Mexico is a divine amalgamation of espresso, Mexican chocolate, and steamed milk, on another hand, the artistically fitting Rose Water Latte is espresso, rose water, and steamed milk topped with creamy foam and dried rose petals.
Straight from a page of your favorite steampunk thriller, Coffee Cycle is a mobile cafe that involves a retrofitted tricycle, delicately aligned gears, and indeed, still-functioning spokes. The company’s founder, Chris O’Brien, originally got the idea following a barista shift at another San Diego coffee shop, when a coworker friend of his cracked some joke about how O’Brien might as well throw a cafe on the back of the bike he’d ride to work every day. Thus, a frivolous conversation gave birth to this beloved, organic java-slinging roadside coffee sanctuary, which today is actually about entirely stationary as it achieves community cornerstone status; they even have a few seats available too!
Harboring the java talent that has set forth a tsunami of international acclaim, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters recently earned a once-in-a-lifetime Roaster of the Year award from Roast Magazine, consistently posts winning scores above 90 by Coffee Review, and always has a Q-Grader certified roaster on site. The Pacific Beach location is perfect for a cup on the go or when comfortable table seating is a must, they’ve also got this lengthy garage door window that gives way to the kinds of swift ocean breezes that compliment any hot summer’s day. There are six Bird Rock cafe’s meaningfully placed throughout San Diego, aside from serving the highest quality coffee, each takes pride in providing a platform for local musicians and showcasing masterpieces brushed to magnificence by local artists.
Ocean Cafe is an all-too hidden gem and tropical getaway snuggled in the corner of an unassuming strip mall off Ingraham Street. Although they’re most commonly known as a coffee destination or even a juice bar, what keeps the most fervent customers coming back might just so happen to be their purist devotion to fresh Brazilian Acai bowls. Keep in mind, if a blast of caffeine just isn’t going to cut it when tackling more peculiar bodily ailments, feel free to try a functional smoothy like the Immune System, which is chalked full of beets, cucumber, green apple, ginger, kale, and spinach; other natural elixirs on this enchanting menu can help with aging, a person’s waning sex life, and a much-needed detox.
Speaking of Instagrammable Pacific Beach coffee shops, Java Earth Coffee is a fairytale-worthy little cottage by the sea with an exposed red-brick wall, floral murals, and a beautifully furnished streetside patio perfect for a crisp people-watching morning by the water. Abe and Debbi (husband and wife) first opened the doors to this humble abode in 2010 and ever since then the Cass Street corner spot has been a haven for mouth-watering house-baked pastries, locally roasted java, and health-conscious options such as the Tuna Be Well bowl or Overnight Oats. In the end, the righteous vibes here couldn’t be more on point and we’re so thankful the Artenstein family took a chance at sharing their deep-rooted warmth and compassion with PB’s coastal community.
For those more aesthetically inclined lovers, indulgers, and explorers of all things pretty – The Grounds Bean Bar will no doubt satisfy your interior designer cravings. Of course, there’s also a yummy selection of specialty coffee drinks that includes uniquely handcrafted creations like the turmeric-rich Dirty Tumi, pink Himalayan salt seduced Salted Honey, and cinnamon sweetened Horchata. In addition, its locality near the youth-infested waters of PB leaves sprinkled upon the neighborhood a dash of daring which beckons just beyond their front door. If you can resist all the thrilling external temptations, there’s no better place to get caught studying…at least not on camera that is!
Truth be told, coffee may not be the primary factor that Fig Tree Cafe has going for it, the reality is, this shaded bungalow by the sea has just about established itself as Pacific Beach’s premier brunch destination. Yes, the burning hot pink “Good Vibes Only” neon sign is a dead giveaway for all the golden mems and classic photographs one may acquire on any boozy mid-Californian day within these aged wooden walls. Furthermore, according to local lore, the property even includes an old putting green, left intact underneath the deck – perhaps it’s a lucky relick.
Locavores will be encouraged to hear dishes are made using homegrown rosemary, along with select produce and eggs from a family farm in Ramona. Last but certainly not least, is their concocting five distinctly savory variations of the Bloody Mary cocktail and an equally tantalizing number of bubbly mimosa recipes. Oh, this bit of info could really be useful to somebody as well, after a long night out on the town, it may prove hangover-curing to order a flight of adaptogenic antioxidant shots, these should help remove toxins, cleanse the body’s cells, and boost immune function, among other health benefits.
Again, Better Buzz Coffee operates several top-tier Pacific Beach coffee shops, each of which deserves its own place on this list, however, for the sake of diversity, we’re going to discuss their West and East locations in one description. The West store (pictured above) operates as a bright cafe drive-thru combo that features trendy design elements such as hexagon tiles, large community tables, porch swings, creative succulent walls, and signature phrases such as Life’s Better Buzzed and Coffee First. Meanwhile, the East location was established a long long time ago, in 2007, and mostly functions as a cozy drive-thru cafe that OG fans flock to as they have for over a decade.
What’s more classic than a romantic stroll along the sun-swept beach boardwalk with that special someone and a couple of frosty ice cream cones. Since opening, Glazed Coffee & Creamery has been a pint-sized saving grace for unsuspecting walkers, joggers, and bikers cruising the coastline only to be pleasantly relieved when they stumbled across this reasonably priced java outpost just a few steps from PB’s sparkling waves.
Okay, okay, we know, Olive Cafe is technically a Mission Beach coffee shop located just a sea shell’s throw down famed, golden-hour soaked Mission Boulevard. Featuring a charming open-air courtyard that belongs in the next installment of Top Gun, Olive is locally adored for providing a welcoming experience where guests can sip coffee out of their very own mugs, munch on some of Dad’s Favorite Pancakes, or play games while sharing a warm, freshly-baked scone. Feel free to bring your furry friends onto their shaded patio and no need to worry, the coffee is 100% organic.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best Pacific Beach coffee shops, be sure to check out our list of the Top 20 Coffee Shops in San Diego County!