A Guide to Memphis Coffee Shops
Nestled in the Pinch District – where you’ll find one of the world’s largest glass pyramids overlooking Wolf River Harbor – Comeback is an aesthetically gifted hallmark among Memphis coffee shops, given its warm earthy tones set against minimalistic white and exposed brick walls, chic furnishings, wooden floorboards, vibrant plants, light bulbs strung together overhead, and amenities for a productive day. The picturesque decor serves as an accomplice to thoughtfully crafted, rewardingly delicious seasonal beverages like the purple-yam-infused Other Mother Latte.
Venturing over leafy sidewalk cracks, past the greenish-blue retro facade, and through Overlands’ colorful paint-splotch trimmed front door reveals a heart-warming scene graced with an eclectic range of armchairs and tabletops, art-speckled exposed brick walls, unique gifts from around the world, lush greenery, accommodations for remote work, a shaded patio deck just outside, and the steady background hum of local musicians and creatives sharing ideas, as they have for decades here.
Around the corner from the National Civil Rights Museum, Bluff City specializes in high-quality Italian-style espresso beverages and scrumptious fresh baked goods. Consider enjoying your morning delight streetside or near the window, as the cafe occupies the base of a gorgeous brick building along South Main, which means trolleys can be spotted passing by at slow speeds, even the occasional horse-drawn buggy, and naturally, the usual hustle and bustle associated with any metropolitan area.
Snuggled amidst the storefronts lining an unassuming strip mall on Highland, Belltower offers guests a bright, airy setting accentuated by an abundance of seating arrangements, the occasional live music performance, and beautiful pottery galleries that were crafted across the room. The attention to detail that has gone into designing this welcoming abode with a delightful balance of charm and utility makes it an easy go-to for daytime meetings with colleagues, long overdue coffee dates, or solo study sessions.
Near and dear to the heart of downtown, Cafe Keough showcases a European-inspired design that honors the existing architecture by using the original granite, recreating the Corinthian capitals, and repurposing the old Commerce Title Building sign as community tabletops. New but old touches include a long custom bar, crisp white subway tiles, and benches reminiscent of the train station at the more southern end of South Main. A soft light filters in during the long afternoons and at night the chandeliers and sconces collected from basements and dusty antique store backrooms give off a warm glow.
In addition to delectable coffee beverages, the menu boasts inventive paninis and salads, a signature Bavarian Breakfast, organic oats with Vermont maple syrup, a variety of croissants, danishes, and pastries, craft beer, and fine wine.
Crazy Gander is one of the most beautiful coffee shops in Memphis, by way of its elegant honeycomb tile floors, plush armchairs, hints of greenery, expansive mural depicting a map of the city, and glass garage door that can open up and let the sunshine, as well as a pleasant Madison Avenue breeze, flow on through. There’s no shortage of potential for a spot like this, it’s your home away from home while adventuring around downtown and a reliable haven equipped with all the makings of the perfect cafe day, whether that entails flipping through the page of your favorite novel, meeting with a friend over soul-stirring coffee, or getting work done.
What this beloved drive-through on the breezy corner of Poplar and Perkins may lack in size, it certainly makes up for in wholesome hospitality, an intimate common area where guests can mingle with friends and try some fantastic breakfast bites, and last but certainly not least, exceptional joe that recently got Ugly Mug voted Memphis’ Best Coffee Roaster. Moreover, the friendly folks behind the counter here have been providing Tennessee diligently roasted java since 1971, these days, they utilize some 50 different types of coffee to produce flavorful organic blends.
Breathing new life into a treasured venue where people would once upon a time get married by an Elvis impersonator, this whimsical gem tucked in the artsy Cooper-Young neighborhood serves organic fair-trade coffee, vegetarian quesadillas, and milkshakes amidst dreamy digs underscored by eclectic furnishings, vintage posters, countless creative expressions, refurbished hardwood floors from Imperial Bowling Lanes, earnestly stocked bookshelves, poetry nights, and the occasional live music performance. Feel free to take your Memphis-inspired beverage to-go and peruse the surrounding century-old buildings occupied by quirky stores selling rare vinyl, handmade chocolates, custom drum kits, and vintage fashion.
Dr. Bean’s shares its floor with Stock & Belle, a boutique shop, that being said the trendy space features funky apparel, local art, several trendy seating arrangements, and the tantalizing aroma of diligently roasted, meticulously brewed java.
Whether you’d like to settle into a couch or corner and appreciate the company of loved ones over a steamy cup of joe, attend a community building event featuring local entrepreneurs, grab a quick pick-me-up before arriving at the nearby airport, or peacefully study amidst the familiar comforts of a reliable neighborhood gathering place, whatever the case may be, Muggin has got you covered.
Down the road from Overton Park, City & State treats visitors to an adorable bohemian ambiance showcasing cute seating arrangements, touches of verdure, minimalistic white walls, and light bulbs strung together overhead. The cafe complements the adjacent retail store, and on that end, City & State scours the country, and beyond, to find the best in clothing, home goods, gear, and more. They look for timelessness, quality, and a strong story. It may be blankets from an American woolen mill that’s been weaving heirloom-worthy pieces for over 100 years or a cutting board from a third-generation woodworker in Tennessee.
Across the street from Autozone Park – a Minor League Baseball stadium – and residing at the base of the historic Commonwealth building, this recent addition to the ever-budding index of Memphis coffee shops has soft pink walls, artsy posters, a pinball machine, awesome stickers, and free WiFi. Keep in mind, the gram-worthy atmosphere boasts only 8 seats, so perhaps plan to grab and enjoy elsewhere.
Qahwa embodies that reliable no-frills neighborhood establishment dedicated to turning out the highest quality goods, from authentic Turkish coffee to 100% crushed fruit smoothies to mouthwatering sandwiches. Sink into a couch near the window and relax as the world passes on by, get to know somebody new over a classic game of chess, or bring your laptop and work/study at a smaller table while taking advantage of the WiFi, with so much to offer, it’s no wonder they’ve been in business for over a ten years and are still goin’ strong!
Tamp & Tap is a relaxed hangout dappled with cozy couches, live-edge wooden tabletops, and country charm. The staff maintains a tempting selection of hand-crafted sandwiches, salads, desserts, locally sourced craft beers, and gourmet coffee drinks like the white chocolate and caramel hinted Tennessean and spiced chai-infused Cannonball Express; they also have cold brew on draft, house-made syrups, and unique brewing methods such as V60 pour-over.
What happens when you combine great food and Southern hospitality with the royal game of chess? You get an experience that is uniquely Memphian. The Memphis Chess Club, founded in 1877, has been reinvented to include a full-service cafè, making it a one-of-a-kind destination within the historic walls of 195 Madison Avenue. The venue is the perfect place for people of all ages to enjoy a meal from the cafè, complete a class assignment, as well as observe, play and even learn the game of chess. Whether you are looking for a fantastic cup of coffee with a delicious meal or a fierce game of chess, the Memphis Chess Club will have you feeling right at home.
If you enjoyed this guide to the best coffee shops in Memphis, check out our list of the Top 5 Coffee Shops in Oxford, Mississippi!
I do not claim to own any of the images used in this article, unless otherwise noted, they are sourced from each business’s Facebook page or Google account.