The Best Coffee Shops In Downtown Austin

Our favorite places for coffee in downtown Austin, whether you’re looking to grab a quick cup or work for hours.

Downtown Austin has coffee shops on nearly every corner. The problem is, many are basically the caliber of what you’d find in an airport. Whether you live or work downtown, need a place to study or get some work done, or are looking to fuel up before a run around Town Lake, you can trust that every spot on this guide will serve you a reliably great cup of coffee. As a bonus, a lot of these coffee shops also have beer and wine – and good Happy Hours – in case you need to level yourself out after drinking caffeine all day.

The Spots

Houndstooth makes some of the best coffee in Austin, and you’ll find the downtown location hidden in the base of the Frost Bank Tower. You can tell this place pays attention to the details - like the slick decoration of the space, and exactly how loud to blast old-school hip hop so that you can still talk to the baristas about the pros and cons of oat milk. During peak hours it can get pretty busy and loud, so it’s not ideal for a long work session or interview, but it’s fine for a meeting or just hanging out.

With an incredible view of Town Lake from its patio, Alta’s Cafe is an under-the-radar refuge very close to the Convention Center in the Waller Creek Boathouse. On a nice day, the dog-friendly deck is a fantastic place to be (just know it can get busier on weekends). Go before or after renting a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard, and get an avocado toast while pretending you’re one of the fit people that rows on Town Lake every day. The food menu is broad, and there are very good coffee drinks, smoothies, beer, and wine. During the week it’s pretty work-friendly - there are only a couple of tables indoors, but the deck has outlets.

Halcyon is a Warehouse District all-day cafe that opened in 2002, before the term “all-day cafe” even existed. It’s a calm coffee shop by day where you can get some work done, a cafe with breakfast and simple food options like panini sandwiches and salads, and a bar that’s open until 2am every night, with cocktails, wine, and beer. It’s right near a bunch of nightclubs, and it’s probably the place you’ve drunkenly stumbled into at 1:30am for their tableside s’mores.

This Merit Coffee location in the Seaholm district is a great place to meet up with people or get some work done downtown (there are a ton of outlets and good wifi). The coffee’s good - they roast their own beans - and there’s some outdoor seating, Tacodeli tacos, and pastries. Conveniently, it’s near the new library and Trader Joe’s, so you can return those overdue books and pick up some sriracha hummus and pumpkin-spice kale chips before or after you get your caffeine fix.

Attached to Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in the Warehouse District, Juan Pelota Cafe is a biking community hub - people wearing Lycra are always meeting up here for a quick espresso before going for a ride. The coffee is from small, independent producers, and this is a good place to hang out or get some work done, especially if you’re hungry for breakfast tacos from Veracruz All-Natural and pastries from Quack’s.

Right in the middle of the lobby of the Line Hotel downtown is a walk-up counter location of Alfred, a mini-chain of trendy coffee shops based out of LA. In other words, it’s the kind of place that has kombucha on tap, matcha drinks, and plenty of milk alternatives. There are a few tables nearby, or you can sit anywhere you want in the lobby, but it’s not a place you’re going to want to linger for very long. Instead, stop by to pick up some very good coffee and tea. The pastries are made here - the best of which are the matcha concha and the Eggs Benedict kolache.

An offshoot of the very good South Lamar coffee shop Patika, Patika Luncheonette is on the ground floor of the 100 Congress building, and only open weekdays. It’s a small space with limited hours, but the draw here is the excellent coffee. That, plus the fact that if you realize during a quarterly goal-setting meeting that you’ve forgotten to eat today, you can pre-order breakfast or lunch online and they’ll text you when it’s ready. It’s also a decent place to get work done - even with a constant stream of desperately starving office workers popping in. There’s good wifi, but not a lot of outlets.

Forthright, tucked away on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Brazos, is a cafe/restaurant you can also pop into for some very good coffee. It’s a bright space that’s polished enough for a work meeting, or you can easily camp out with a laptop at the wooden bar in the mornings. There’s also an elaborate tea and matcha drinks menu - one of the biggest in town. While it’s one of those places that serves avocado toast and makes their own nut milk, you can also get a Bloody Mary and fried chicken and waffles.

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