A review of my favorite coffee shops in downtown Phoenix

Throughout the course of this semester, I’ve written articles about five amazing coffee shops in the downtown Phoenix area. Equipped with caffeine and free WiFi, they’re all ideal places for ASU students to visit; however, each cafe is unique and creative in its own way. They all showcase and sell art in addition to typical coffeehouse items. All five are open on First Friday too, which is when they are the busiest. Since this blog is coming to an end, I’m going to review my favorite cafes under certain categories listed below. For each one, I’ve chosen my top three contenders.

To refresh your memory, these are the five places I’ve covered in this blog (you can click on the name to take you back to each blog post):

Category 1: BEST COFFEE

  1. Jobot – It’s totally worth waiting 45 minutes in line just to order a toddy coffee or iced mocha from here, which is what my friends and I do every First Friday. It’s just really great coffee. Period.
  2. Squash Blossom – Candy corn and peppermint pattie lattes, and other seasonal drinks that are new every month and crafted to perfection. Need I say more?
  3. 8th Day – Not only is their coffee community traded so you know you’re making a difference with each purchase, but their iced drinks are served in mason jars! It makes your cup of coffee that much better.

Category 2: BEST PLACE TO STUDY

  1. 8th Day – There are several couches accompanied by lots of natural light coming in through the numerous windows all over the cafe, and study groups can meet in their conference room. It’s a spacious coffeehouse with different seating areas and there are huge tables so you can layout all of your work. It’s comfortable, convenient and quiet.
  2. Fair Trade – At both locations, there’s a wide variety of commodious seating ranging from sofas to cushioned wooden benches. It’s also peaceful and spacious like 8th Day. When you have a lot to get done, I would recommend either place.
  3. Songbird – This cafe is significantly smaller, but the long tables with outlets are efficient for students looking to charge their devices while completing homework or writing a paper. There’s a huge bookcase that makes you feel like you’re in a super cool, hipster library too. You can check out thier range of novels on your study break.

Category 3: BEST PLACE TO ADMIRE/PURCHASE ARTWORK

  1. 8th Day – There’s a wonderful assortment of artwork here. There’s huge pieces like a painted door and sculptures near the back wall, but there’s also oil paintings and drawings too. Since it’s found in all shapes and sizes all around the cafe, I guarantee it is not a boring place to visit. You can check out their monthly art gallery premieres every First Friday if you’re interested in that as well.
  2. Songbird – Part of an ongoing art exhibit, it’s located inside the MonOrchid building in the heart of the Roosevelt Row art districts. Their Scrabble-inspired menu is a work of art in itself. There’s obviously other great pieces of art on their walls, but if none of it catches your attention then I’m sure something inside the MonOrchid will.
  3. Fair Trade – There’s a perfect balance of framed photographs and paintings here. I appreciate that it’s not overbearing or distracting, and it tastefully integrates coffee with art.

Category 4: BEST PLACE TO HANGOUT

  1. Squash Blossom – Because it’s also a restaurant, this place is ideal for hanging out with friends. Everything on the menu is fresh, tasty and relatively cheap. It’s perfect for a lunch date with classmates and the 10% ASU discount makes it that much better. The staff is super friendly and the music selection is exquisite. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must do so immediately. Your friends will love you for bringing them there!
  2. Jobot – It’s open until midnight, so take a break from your schoolwork and grab a cup of coffee with your friends after dinner. The lounge environment and loud music provide an excellent escape from your daily routine.
  3. Songbird –  What makes Songbird different from the other cafes is the fact that the owners will sit down with you and get to know you. If they’re not behind the counter making coffee, then they’re probably making conversation with their customers. They love getting to know people and keeping in touch on social media. Check it out!

As I previously stated, each place is unique in its own way and there’s a cafe out there for everyone. I recommend visiting all of them in order to determine which one best suits your preferences. Downtown Phoenix is overflowing with coffee shops and places filled with art, so go out and try something new.

Advertisements

Squash Blossom: “great food, great coffee, great atmosphere”

20121031-170046.jpg

  Since my roommate and I have completely opposite schedules, we rarely have the opportunity to spend time with each other during the week. As a result, we often plan to go out to lunch together at the beginning of the week just to catch up with one another and take a break from our busy lives. We love trying out different hole-in-the-wall places around downtown Phoenix, but the cafe we usually go to has become our absolute favorite.  

Located in McKinley Lot, just two blocks North of Taylor Place (our dorm), Squash Blossom lies in the heart of downtown Phoenix. It’s by far the best breakfast and lunch cafe I’ve been to around here. Although it just opened a few months ago, in the summer of 2012, it is continuously attracting new customers.

One of the things my roommate and I have noticed since we’ve been going there practically every week for the last month or so is that there’s always different types of people there. Squash Blossom is definitely living up to its goal which is to “bring the people of downtown Phoenix and the surrounding metro areas together,” according to their website squashblossomaz.com. Whenever we’re there, we’ll see other ASU students like ourselves taking advantage of the free WiFi and 10 percent discount. However, there’s often a variety of other customers, such as businessmen in suits, old ladies in cat sweaters and, of course, the stylish hipsters who would probably hate for the cafe to become too popular.

Not only are there interesting people, but the art on the walls and the holiday menus also make every trip to Squash Blossom quite an experience. There’s regularly new paintings or photographs to be seen, and I try a new sandwich or coffee almost every time I’m there. I haven’t been disappointed yet because it’s all so fresh and delicious! Plus, an impeccable music selection accompanies everything else that’s amazing about this cafe.

20121031-165158.jpg

Squash Blossom’s veggie-lovers sandwich & coconut almond latte from the holiday menu.

Learn more about Squash Blossom by watching this video featuring my lovely roommate: