Morning mud or hair of the dog? Both vices pour freely at these craft-happy coffee bars.
ORLANDO, FLA. | Stardust Video & Coffee
DETAILS: This hipster haven’s so much more than a coffee-and-beer bar: It also serves up 2-day DVD and VHS rentals, kitschy art on every inch of wall, live performances, house-baked pastries, Sunday brunch that’s reinvented each week and a community of creative patrons that makes you want to finally write that screenplay. BEER: St. Bernardus Abt 12 always claims one of the five taps. COFFEE: The Stoner: espresso with melted butter, brown sugar, honey and cream. TIPS: The parking lot plays host to the Audubon Park Community Market every Monday evening. Down your beer, then browse the produce, meats, pantry items and artwork.
CHARLESTON, S.C. | Kudu
DETAILS: Both Juan Valdez and Michael “Beer Hunter” Jackson disciples can find liquid salvation at this café that charms with a cozy courtyard and 10 geeky taps from near (think local newbie Holy City Brewing) and far (Great Divide, Green Flash). The only downer: Baristas can’t make pints look nearly as gorgeous as their Instagram-worthy latte art. BEER: Any of the here-today- gone-tomorrow pours from nearby Westbrook Brewing. COFFEE: Order a cappuccino, get a Van Gogh in a mug; watch the monthly Latte Art Throwdowns to see how it’s done. TIPS: If it’s not open mic night, it’s a meet-the-brewer session, tap takeover or some other really good excuse to tip back pints.
PORTLAND, ORE. | Pints Brewing
DETAILS: Java shop by day and beer bar by night, newcomer Pints is the ultimate coffeehouse cubicle with free WiFi, espresso aplenty, beers from its own brewery and guest taps from locals like Ft. George. A just-added kitchen does up sandwiches and salads that’ll take you from lunch webinar to happy hour. BEER: Legalize Wit, a peppy papaya-coriander-ginger Belgian wit brewed with neighbor Lompoc Brewing. COFFEE: Beans from Portland Roasting make java that perfectly soaks up scones delivered daily from Marsee Baking. TIPS: From 3 to 6 p.m., house pints are $3 and small plates like bruschetta and truffle fries are $2 off.
PHILADELPHIA | Brew/Ultimo
DETAILS: Glassy and sun-drenched, this cool café/bottle shop is first and foremost a kind of coffee science lab (the experts behind the counter will even show you how to brew better pots at home); huge coolers of craft bottles you can pop onsite and locally made treats like sinful Coco Love whoopie pies ensure you’ll get whatever buzz you’re after. BEER: A sessionable can of T-Rail Pale Ale from local Old Forge Brewing. COFFEE: Whatever Counter Culture coffee’s pouring from the manual Chemex system. TIPS: Call ahead and reserve a spot at the free Friday evening “cupping,” where the pros demonstrate coffee pours and you taste.
MINNEAPOLIS | Muddy Waters
DETAILS: What was once just a coffee shop has evolved into one of Minny’s premier beer-food pairing palaces, with house-baked pastries and thoughtful (but not contrived) small plates made with pints in mind. The beer guy’s a Surly alum, so you know the 30 taps are pristine. BEER: Suburban Minneapolis’ pungent sleeper IPA, Steel Toe Size 7. COFFEE: A jolting Depth Charge: drip coffee with an espresso shot. TIPS: The kitchen serves food until 2 a.m.; you can make that midnight deadline and still have hours to order the slaw-and-pickled-onion-topped fish tacos.
PLUS: Funky, artsy Northwestern brewing empire McMenamins is also the only American brewery with its own coffee roastery: The company roasts about 50,000 pounds of beans each year into four single-origin coffees and three blends (like the megadark Black Rabbit French Roast), plus the new holiday seasonal Fireside Blend. Order a bag at shopmcmenamins.com.