New Orleans is known as a party city, but there just might be as many coffee shops as there are bars in this town. It’s not hard to find a good cup of a coffee, but it’s not just the brew that makes a good coffee shop. It’s all about the menu, atmosphere, and overall experience. With so many to choose from it might feel overwhelming, but #FrayLife is here with our top picks to make your life a little easier.
With two locations on either end of Decatur St., you can enjoy Envie no matter where you find yourself in the Quarter. The location on the CBD end (308 Decatur) is a little cleaner and more modern, while the original location on the Marigny end (1241 Decatur) has the classic Quarter charm that comes from being older and well-loved. Both locations have a large food menu, including particularly delicious paninis. The 1241 location closes at Midnight, making it one of the rare shops where you can get a late night caffeine fix.
What this snug French Quarter spot lacks in space, it makes up for in style. The walls are lined with local art and heavy metal plays in the background. The menu isn’t extensive, but it has all of the essentials. Arrow hosts monthly art shows, pop-ups, local bakers and local artists. They invite all to “come get weird!”
Warehouse District & Lower Garden District
Located in the posh Ace Hotel New Orleans, Stumptown Coffee Roasters may hail from Portland, but the NOLA café has the feel of a local spot. They roast their coffee daily, and it’s the coffee that really steals the show here, but they also serve a variety of other drinks, including a first rate kombucha on tap.
Come for the coffee and stay for the crepes. This Lower Garden place specializes in coffee beverages and Parisian-style crepes. Even though it’s located right on Magazine Street, it feels like a hidden gem, tucked-away from the touristy New Orleans flash, and full of local-appreciated substance. Breakfast crepes, lunch crepes, dessert crepes- the only way you can go wrong is not getting a crepe to go with your coffee!
This offbeat Lower Garden coffee shop has a seemingly boundless selection of coffee shop drinks, a large smoothie menu and three cases stocked full of cold beverages including kombucha and pressed juices. They also serve breakfast and lunch fare, as well as baked goods, including muffins so enormous they put Costco to shame. The vibe is relaxed, making it a great spot to chill at after shopping on Magazine Street.
Uptown & Carrolton
Nestled among the thrift shops and bookstores on Oak Street, Z’otz fits right in; it’s a little grungy, a lot funky, and has a whole lot of heart and soul. The interior makes you feel like you’re in a den where you want to curl up with a good book, and a hot mug of something from their extensive menu. To give you an idea, they have 11 varieties of iced tea, let alone the coffee selections.
Inside a beautiful Uptown Victorian is Cafe Luna, an understated coffee spot that has the homey feel that can only come from being located in an actual house. Their homemade pastries are some of the best in the city. Head over on the next nice day, so you can enjoy one while sitting on Cafe Luna’s porch, or in the courtyard. A local cat might even stop by to say, “meow.”
Located across from a park, and in between classic New Orleans homes, Cherry Coffee Roasters is the quintessential neighborhood coffee shop. The high ceilings and huge windows make it bright and sunny, and reflect the cheery disposition of the baristas who are more than happy to answer questions, especially about some of the more unique menu selections like Shrub (a surprisingly tasty combination of fruit soaked in vinegar, served with sparkling water).
Located just a few blocks from the Fair Grounds (see what they did there?), Fair Grinds is one of the best values for great coffee in the city. Not only are the prices nice on your pocket, but all proceeds go directly to support community organizing in Central and South America, and it’s the only 100% Fair Trade coffeehouse in New Orleans. Cozy up in their comfy interior, or, if the weather’s nice, head upstairs to the outdoor balcony for great views and a little sun.
Brought to you by the same people behind Envie, The Bean Gallery brings the same great drink and food selections to Mid City. On nice days you can sip your brew on the patio and watch the streetcar go by on Carrolton Avenue. Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop is right next door, so you can grab something to read and settle in until closing time, which is midnight on most days.
Faubourg Marigny & Bywater
An artsy, up-and-coming neighborhood like Bywater wouldn’t be complete without an eccentric little shop like St. Coffee. It’s got the slightly frayed look of most Bywater establishments, as well as the warm and inviting atmosphere you’d expect from any local New Orleans operation. Their coffee is on point, and the star of their food selection is the donuts because really, what goes better with coffee than a donut?
This coffee shop is as eclectic and bohemian as you’d expect for a corner coffee shop in the heart of the Marigny. Local art covers almost every inch of the walls, including handmade masks by the proprietor. The drink selection is fairly standard, but there is a large menu of food items including nachos, falafel, and house-made spicy curry. The bakery case is also very well stocked, and everything is available until close at midnight, making it a great late night haunt.
This cute spot in the center of the Harrison Street bustle has a large drink menu and surprisingly good (if somewhat overpriced) breakfast and lunch fare. The place has a Southern Mom Chic vibe, and expect to see families- this is Lakeview, after all. Even so, it’s quiet enough for working and the large front windows make it a pleasant place to camp out for a while.
Have a favorite coffee shop we forgot to mention? Leave a comment or tag us using #FrayLife and #NOLAFray so that we can keep on top of the coffee scene!
If you liked our morning drink selections, keep the good times rolling by checking out our favorite happy hour spots too!
View More Articles By Katie Baer