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Espresso + Comfort + Privacy in Downtown Seattle

  • p

Looking for a new best place to have our weekly coffee, and have some very specific paramaters:

1) The espresso must be really really good.
2) There must be comfortable seating for 3.
3) The seating must be private enough that you can have a conversation at a normal volume and not feel like the people at the next table can overhear you, but not so loud that you have to yell to be heard.
4) It must be short walking distance of 6th and University. Belltown is too far, International District is too far. Pioneer Square is borderline.

We used to be extremely happy with the Juan Valdez on 5th and James, but it closed down. Help me Chowhounds, you're my only hope!

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  1. Hmmm...seeing as how the high rents of downtown make it harder for the non-chains to exist, that's a challenge. My favorite places are Cafe Umbria and Zeitgeist, both in Pioneer Square. I think the privacy and noise levels are fine but it sounds like you might be a bit more sensitive than me. I know a lot of people who like Cherry Street, and I think you would like the seating area, but I don't think the espresso is good.

    1. Try Ancient Grounds at 1st and University. Great funky space. I'm not an espresso girl, but their coffee is damn good and my friend who is an espresso guy swears by it.

      There's also Cafe Ladro at 1st and Union.

      1. At 3rd and Marion is another Cherry Street coffee house. It is not so private, but adjoins a vast marble lobby with a large seating alcove with comfortable furniture. Sometimes this is quite private (though rarely there will be others there). Though do not fancy myself an espresso guru, I love their coffee, and take mine with a shot and savor the crema. Ancient grounds is a good possibility, too.

        1. pman, I am going to echo mrnelso's recommendation for the Cherry St. Coffee House that is located in the Central Building. That seating in the lobby is (was) one of downtown Seattle's best-kept secrets. It is my first choice for a "private" coffee meeting -

          1. Coffee lovers and Italophiles that I trust have highly recommended Caffe Senso Unico at 622 Olive. It is the old Torrefazione Italia location. Unfortunately, since I work at the other end of town, I haven't been able to pop in and can't speak to the privacy issues. In Pioneer Square, Cafe Umbria is my favorite. I sneak in for gelato as often as I go for coffee.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lara

              I work across the street from Senso Unico, and go there every day. They do have excellent espresso, and it's a perfect spot for a quiet chat -- especially if you sit in the back.

            2. Unfortunately I know nothing about the quality of their espresso, but Tully's on the NW corner of 4th and Union would seem to satisfy your other 3 criteria.

              3 Replies
              1. re: not the bad Steve

                I wondering if Belle Epicurean might fit the bill. Ive been wanting to check out this place but havent had the chance.

                1. re: New York Michele

                  I was going to mention Belle Epicurean too but I don't think it satisfies the privacy requirement. The setting is french bistro with bistro tables and tile floors etc. It's not loud but conversations carry.

                  1. re: Lauren

                    But there is a table by the window on the that is by itself. I figure, if people more than 10 feet away can hear your conversation clearly, you're talking too loud anyway.

                    And the espresso is very good. The pastries are incredible.

              2. Cherry Street fits the bill very nicely, thanks!

                1. What took over the Torrefazione spot across from Belle Epicurean, in the office building? They have Caffe Umbria (one of my favs)... I love Belle, but for a cafe to "hang" in try that place across the street. AND! There's a stairway that leads to some tables on top of Purple, great in good weather--ssshhh don't tell everybody.