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coffeehouses in philly or main line?

i am in search of a good independent coffeehouse in the city or main line suburbs that is relaxed and lends itself to reading and writing. i like mugshots... anything else in that same vein?

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  1. Don't know anything about Mugshots, but there is an excellent espresso spot in Chestnut Hill if that's doable for you, featuring legendary barista John Hornall from the old Hines Public Market in Seattle.
    Here's a testimonial:

    1. IN the Main Line area starting near Philly.....

      In Wynnewood there is the bagel place that also serves coffee (nice but crowded) and the shop right next to the train (haven't been).

      Milk boy coffee house in Ardmore is relaxed and I always see many people there who are reading or writing. Although they are owned and run by a recording studio and so sometimes the music is a bit loud.

      The coffee house in Bryn Mawr connected to the movie theater is nice. Not really big but independant and going there actually supports the non-profit theater.

      In Wayne there's Griffin right near the movie theater (sometimes too many young kids), a coffee shop near the Margaret Quo restaurant (great atmosphere and spacious. Music not too loud) and another on the street near the train tracks (Wayne Ave.?). I haven't been in there but it looks cute.

      Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Main Line Tracey

        I'm just going to give a little more info to the suggestions Tracey has made in Wayne -- all of which are good.

        Griffin is actually spelled Gryphon, and yes there are a lot of kids there sometimes, but they have excellent coffee and can be a really nice place when it's not open mike night (which I think is Monday night).

        The Coffee Shop near Margaret Kuo's is called Cream and Sugar, and is also very nice, but their hours are (in my opinion at least) terrible -- close every day around 5. Yes they are open on the weekend, but it's not an option for an after dinner coffee.

        The place by the train tracks is called Cafe Precopio. They serve La Colombe coffee. They also have some strange hours, but they are open every day.

      2. The Green Line Cafe at 43rd and Baltimore in the University City area is nice and relaxed with really good coffee.

        1. The most popular in Center City with great coffee and pastries is La Colombe on S 19th st just above Rittenhouse Sq. Some of the barristers have major ' tude and its often crowded but if you want to pretend you are in Paris this is the place.
          My favorite is the Walnut Bridge Cafe, on Walnut St just before the bridge over the Schulykill to West Philly and UPenn. The place is very relaxing, the coffee is wonderful and the couple who run it couldn't be nicer. There is also an assortment of world class chocolates from all over (including Joseph Schmidt's of SF).
          Another really good place is Hausbrandt's on 16th St just below Walnut. Good place to sit, excellent coffee and nice pannini's for lunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: phillydoc

            I'll second the Walnut Bridge Cafe suggestion. I haven't had the coffee but have fallen in love with the sweets offered. Moreover, it's still a bit of an "undiscovered gem," so the place is very quiet and relaxing, provided you don't mind the giant windows/glass walls looking almost directly into the Sweat gym across the street.

          2. You should try Last Drop at 13th and Pine. It can be a bit of a scene sometimes, what with all the art students and hipsters, but it is a great place to camp out for awhile with some coffee. Best of all it's open pretty late (11pm last time I checked).

            In the same area I really love The Village on Locust beween 11th and 12th. It's very gay-friendly and there is always the smell of something baking in there... It also has a nice outside seating area next to a garden.

            1. I second Green Line Cafe, La Colombe, and Village on Locust (not quite as fond of Last Drop, myself). I'd also add Phila. Java Company, at 4th and Lombard. Very relaxed place for reading and writing, especially in the back. And if Mugshots is your usual stomping grounds, it won't be too far from you.

              1. I haven't tried the coffee, but there's a somewhat new place called Mocha (I think) on 10th St near Spruce. I live nearby and it's always filled with people studying and using laptops. There seems to be a lot of space inside, but like I said, I haven't been in yet.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lbmsw

                  That's funny...I just logged back in because I realized I'd forgotten to mention Mocha. I have been there a couple times and liked it very much...one time I was there to do some work for a couple hours, and the other time just to hang out - and met a couple very nice people.

                2. Philadelphia Java Company at 4th and Lombard.

                  1. -milkboy in ardmore is my pick and has large space to sit and bands of all sort in the evenings - their mocha with whipped cream is yummy - and they offer pretty decent lunch now too
                    -mugshots is very nice - and has a really good variety of cold drinks and some good offerings foodwise - the grasshopper is a nice minty twist on the iced drink
                    -haven't been to last drop but i hear it is good - personally i find the hoardes of people I always see there intimidating...really big crowds - and a little too trendy for me

                    1. Just saw your post today so I am a little late. Great coffee, and a huge homemade menu at Canvas Coffee in Fishtown. It's on Columbia and Girard ave. They do all of their baking on site and it's really unique and terrific.

                        1. My favorite is a little further out in Chester County. Harrington's on Broad St. in Kennett Square is friendly and cozy and serves good coffee, muffins, bagels and other lite fare. There are two rooms, one with a gas fireplace. Between the two rooms is a foyer with a table that has newspapers for customers. The antiques and gift items on display and (sometimes) for sale add to the ambiance.

                          1. if reading and writing is what you're after... come up to northern liberties. in the 600 block of n 3rd st there is higher grounds (NOT to be confused with ground floor a block over - that's more of a summer/outdoorsy coffee relaxation place!)... they have great coffee (finding non-burnt coffee in phila is a real challenge) and loose leaf teas. they also make an excellent bagel with cream cheese and tomato. they describe themselves as an amsterdam-like coffee house, condusive to sitting around and chilling - like what you want to do. i think they also have free wifi. and it's never crowded. love the fact that there are 4 coffeehouses in my new neighborhood, none of which are a starbucks!!

                            oh, and i think you'll like higher grounds better than mugshots. mugshots coffee was so-so for me, and it was sooo crowded! wasn't a big fan of the layout, either. not lounge-y enough to make me want to stay.

                            1. Well, since posters on this thread aren't limiting themselves to just Main Line spots, let me share my favorite secret coffeehouse: Ray's Cafe in Chinatown. Do yourself a favor: go to Ray's! I won't even try to describe how great a coffee experience you are in for.

                              1. if you want a good place to do some serious studying/reading/writing/etc., i think 22 is the best. it's located on 22nd street btwn locust and spruce, and they have free wireless! (unlike other places that advertise this, ahem, bonte, their wireless is reliable for very extended periods of time). the shop is very quiet, the music selection is usually classical or something equally soothing, and is always played at an unintrusive volume. it's usually full of people who are studying/doing some sort of work, so not only is it quiet, but i find myself inspired by the work ethic of those around me :-P. they serve la colombe coffee, hale & hearty soups (the nyc chain), a small assortment of sammiches, and a nice little selection of pastries/yummies. i love the peppermint mocha when it's cold outside, and the poundcake (both the lemon and marble varieties) are delish! oh and it's also an art gallery, which makes for fun eye candy during study breaks :-)

                                walnut bridge has THE BEST coffee i've ever had. and not just in this city. illy coffee is wonderful, and they brew it perfectly. they now have soups and panini - yummy panini (comes w/ chips!), haven't tried the soup. they also have a great selection of upscale chocolates, petit fours, some pastries and cakes, fruit, yogurt...really, they have something for everyone. great iced tea in the summer. the owners are WONDERFUL people! they really make an effort to get to know their regulars (beyond just memorizing names), and greet everyone by name, which i really love. it's not the best place for heavy duty studying, but i love to snuggle up on one of their couches for some lightish reading. oh and also, their chocolate drinks are die for. cold chocolate milk in the summer, hot mocha in the winter - they really take chocolate beverages to another level. they use real chocolate, no hershey's syrup nonsense here, so the mocha's not as sweet as you might expect (i always toss in a little splenda)...but still, amazing.