Sometimes you just need a quick jolt of java, so you go to a chain coffee shop. But when you are looking for a place to meet friends or just sit and contemplate, a neighborhood cafe is the place to go.
Since Thursday, Sept. 29, is National Coffee Day, The Salt Lake Tribune has compiled a list of 11 independent coffee shops around the Salt Lake Valley — including comments on what makes them unique, from their menus to their vibes.
To read the complete details for all 11, click here; for a quick rundown, keep scrolling.
Alchemy Coffee • 390 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City • You can’t get more neighborhood coffee shop than Alchemy, and the decorations inside live up to the sorcery of its name: in September, they hung a pin-up skeleton on the glass door, pumpkin trinkets and a skull in a glass jar on one of the tables. (The permanent rainbow disco ball still fit in with that darker vibe.)
Sunset Coffee • 7879 S. 1300 East, Sandy • The shop’s interior features chalkboards full of creative drink names like “Voldemort,” and pop-art decorations; they offer board games and an outside patio that wraps around the shop that gives way to beautiful mountain views.
3 Cups • 4670 S. 2300 East, Holladay, and 545 W. 700 South, Salt Lake City • 3 Cups Holladay is the perfect shop to sit and get work done, with both indoor and outdoor seating and free wi-fi. The menu boasts a decent lineup of drinks, as well as food and gelato. The coffee shop has started dipping into an evening hangout with wine and cheese nights too.
Greenhouse Effect Coffee and Crepes • 3231 S. 900 East, Millcreek • Walking into Greenhouse Effect is like going to visit your friend who reads an obnoxious amount, but serves the best coffee and has comfy couches, strong wi-fi — and crepes.
Coffee Garden • 878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City • Coffee Garden, a beloved fixture of Salt Lake City’s 9th and 9th neighborhood, offers a delicious case of treats and never-ending drink options, and it’s a stop that everyone has been to at least once. It also has no wi-fi — and if you ask, the baristas point to a sign that encourages people to talk rather than use their devices.
Publik Coffee • Three locations in Salt Lake City: 975 S. West Temple, 502 3rd Ave., and 210 S. University St. • In April, Food & Wine crowned Publik as the best coffee roaster in Utah; it’s also pushing the envelope on sustainable roasting, with solar panels on the roof. But the average person appreciates its perfectly roasted brews and welcoming space.
Logos Coffee • 1709 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City • Located inside Emigration Cafe, Logos boasts the only ModEspresso system in Salt Lake, and serves “third wave” coffee roasting, which emphasizes medium rather than dark roasts; it also serves pastries made by Emigration’s chef.
Encircle Cafe • 331 S. 600 East, Salt Lake City • Encircle is no ordinary cafe — it’s a center supporting LGBTQ+ young people and their families, but the cafe is open to all, with 100% of its handcrafted drinks, including coffee flights where you can sample drip coffees, espresso drinks, cold brews and teas, going to support their work.
Sugar House Coffee • 2011 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City • The cafe sources coffee and food as locally as possible, partnering with Rimini Coffee, Kessimakis Produce, Han’s Kombucha, Clifford Farms, Rosehill Dairy, and lots of local bakeries including Sweet Hazel & Co., Stoneground, Lone Pine, and City Cakes. It even sources its ice locally, from Bagley’s Ice.
Cafe 140B • 140 B Street, Salt Lake City • Located inside Ellerbeck Bed and Breakfast in the Avenues, the cafe opened as a walk-up window during COVID-19, with seating in the garden and on the porch. On Sept. 14, it opened its restored Carriage House (behind the B&B proper) for indoor coffee and tea sipping.
Salt Lake Roasting Company • 820 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City • SLRC is the pioneer ancestor of Salt Lake coffee shops, opening in 1981. After 40 years and five locations, it now has one spot at 820 E. 400 South — which offers the carefully sourced and roasted coffees, quiche, cookies and perfect muffins it’s been serving for decades.
Elsewhere in Utah • Outside the Salt Lake Valley, we want to highlight Daily Rise Coffee, Soul City Coffee and Coffee Links in Ogden; Atticus Coffee, Tea and Bookhouse, Stoked Roasters and Lucky Ones Coffee in Park City; as well as Rugged Grounds and — for those looking for non-caffeine options — Latter-Day Cafe in Provo.