Top 10 Coffee Shops in Downtown San Diego

Downtown San Diego Coffee House Guide

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Some time ago, Chuck Patton’s wife bought him a coffee roasting machine for Christmas. He shortly thereafter began selling the coffee he made at home at local farmer’s markets; eventually upgrading to a cart operation. Now he travels the world searching for the highest quality coffee beans to serve in his six cafes throughout San Diego.

The Little Italy location, in particular, offers a beautifully designed atmosphere to meet with friends, work on projects, or just enjoy a cup of joe found in some distant land. Their “Monkey Bite” espresso really does the trick. Not to mention, Chuck nearly got his finger bit off by a monkey in the process of discovering it!


That California sun can bring down some serious year-round heat so enjoy all the shaded splendors of island life beneath Krakatoa’s enormous fig tree. Combined with coffee and pastries in the morning or a crisp cold beer and sandwich in the afternoon, their patio deck may cause “cheap flights to the south pacific” to get typed into your Google search bar.

The Grounds Bean Bar

For those more aesthetically inclined Instagram connoisseurs of all things pretty – The Grounds Bean Bar will no doubt satisfy your designer cravings. In addition, its locality near the youth infested waters of Pacific Beach sprinkle upon the neighborhood a dash of daring which beckons just beyond the front door.  If you can resist those thrilling exterior temptations, there’s no better place to get caught studying…at least not on camera that is!

James Coffee Co.

They have cafes throughout Southern California, however, their space in Little Italy is so wonderfully unique in conception it is a MUST-DO for anybody interested in one-of-a-kind coffee experiences. “The Space,” as it’s called, houses James Coffee Co. along with a great collection of well-curated boutique shops all under one roof. The classic barbershop, hand-poured candle store, and premium craft eyewear seller, among others, add to the lively atmosphere of this bustling mini-market.

Coffee & Tea Collective Downtown

“Don’t Be A Stranger, Be A Pal,” reads their website. Coffee & Tea Collective Downtown is as cozy a coffee shop as can be. Their blank canvas of a design allows for the warmth and creativity of our surrounding community to grace its interior. They have a pretty sweet “How To San Diego” T-Shirt too.

Bean Bar

It’s not very often you find a true-blooded mom & pop coffee shop anymore – especially not in a metropolitan area like downtown San Diego. In operating Bean Bar, husband and wife duo, Sandra and Jason Scheller shine like a beacon of hope for small-business in our all too corporate world. Entrepreneurs like them contribute to the soul of the city by selflessly injecting their own passions, spirits, and love into the products they make. If you find yourself in East Village, be sure to pop in for a visit.

Spill the Beans Coffee & Bagels

Freshly made, inventive and conscientious, Spill the Beans is rapidly defining how adults should begin their day. Perfectly situated in the heart of Gaslamp, an early morning stroll down to San Diego’s world-renowned hub of nightlife never sounded so promising. Pull up a seat and stay awhile because the Dark Horse Coffee and bagels made from scratch will only leave you wanting more, ya “Pot Head!”

Genteel Coffee Co.

Started by owner operator Justin Esselstrom in 2016, Genteel Coffee has grown from a six-foot mobile espresso bar to a full-service specialty coffee and tea shop. Their commitment to high-quality coffee draws people in from all walks of life but its the amazing atmosphere that keeps them there. Spacious, well-designed, and welcoming, this venue is the ultimate haven for creatives.

Cafe Moto

With a timeless love for vintage motorcycle racing, technical involvement with espresso machines and coffee blends, Cafe Moto was launched in 1990. They somehow perfectly blend the rustic nostalgia-inducing ambiance of a classic car shop with the warmth of a space dedicated to community gatherings. Factor in its locale amongst the gorgeous murals of “Barrio Logan” and one artsy day is in store.

Lofty Coffee

Lofty Coffee designed this cafe to take full advantage of the temperate San Diego weather with a wide-open and fluid, indoor to outdoor patio vibe. Nestled on a sun-kissed corner of Little Italy, there’s no better way to enjoy the elements with your cup of joe.