Coffee — for most of us it’s an everyday necessity, so where can you find the best cup of coffee in Charleston? Whether you need the perfect place for meeting with your real estate agent, need caffeine on the go, a place to plug in your laptop, or a quiet corner for reading, Charleston’s variety of local coffee houses has you covered — and caffeinated! Here are a few of our favorite neighborhood spots.
Collective Coffee, Mount Pleasant
This upscale, hipster coffee shop is pretty cool indeed with its loft-like, airy space and tasty breakfast (pimento cheese biscuit is life-changing) and snack (avocado toast) items. We love the friendly service here at Collective Coffee along with the ample outdoor seating, community table, comfy corner seating, and plentiful parking, assuring that you and whoever you’re meeting up with will have plenty of places to perch your coffee cups and your cars. Not the cheapest place but they do take pride in preparing your lattes, we can assure you. They’re delicious. The wifi is free, and laptops are welcome here.
Orange Spot, Park Circle North Charleston
For the most adorable coffee experience, head to Park Circle. Orange Spot is nestled in a cute little house and consists of two rooms with plenty of tables, power outlets, cushioned seats, and sunlight. A spacious backyard patio means they can put on events, like mini markets and art openings, since they line their walls with local art. Wifi? Yep, and it’s free. Pro tip: get the the Cha Yen.
Classic Coffee, Avondale, West Ashley
Avondale residents love strolling on foot over to Classic Coffee for their caffeine fix, and it’s perfect for all kinds of situations. There are couches that make for cozy book-reading nooks, plus outdoor tables, a bar with bar stools, and several inside tables for all your meeting-up purposes. We also love their quiches, which come from nearby Wildflour Pastry, in-house roasted coffee, and fruit smoothies. Parking is a pain at times, though, be ye warned.
Normandy Farm, South Windermere, West Ashley
If you really want to feel fancy and French when you hit the coffee shop, make Normandy your new favorite. Visions and smells of fresh-baked breads, tarts, cakes, pies, and more will have you drooling, but the prices will make you stop in your tracks. Normandy, a light-filled space, is the most affordable coffee shop in Charleston — its pour-it-yourself in-house roasted coffee is only a buck-fifty. The only downside of this place is that the bathrooms are in the back, meaning you have to walk through the kitchen to get there. If you’re having lots of coffee, this can make you feel a bit self-conscious, but, really, they don’t mind at all. Oh and there’s free wifi.
Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer
Kudu discourages folks from working on computers by denying guests their wifi password. So save Kudu for those days when you want to meet up with people (friends or clients) or you simply want to sit in their lovely courtyard and enjoy a book al fresco style. They serve coffee by the cafetiere and have a slew of great local craft beer selections. Kudu is also perfect for downtowndwellers; otherwise you’ll be circling the block in search of parking for an eternity.
Starbucks, Multiple Locations
- Starbucks gets a lot of slack for being corporate, and while supporting local is always best, Starbucks isn’t so bad. They treat their employees pretty wonderfully actually, offering benefits to even part-timers. In West Ashley and Mt Pleasant you’ll find Starbucks with drive-thru windows, which is key for busy moms who can’t just unbuckle all three kids and run in and grab a quick coffee. (There is no such thing as a quick coffee when you’re a mom, unless there’s a drive-through!). Plus if you need to do some work on your laptop, at Starbucks you’ll find all you need for that: plenty of outlets, free wifi, lots of two-top tables and community tables. Starbucks is literally made for all of you laptop workers — be it freelancers or students. AND most locations stay open until 9 p.m., while most other places shut down much earlier (5 or 6 p.m.).
What’s your favorite local coffee shop?
Duck down almost any side street in downtown Charleston and you’ll find some hidden gem of an eatery, shop or art gallery. One of them is Kudu Coffee Shop. Don’t let their name fool you, though. It’s much more than delicious coffee. They have a decent selection of craft beers and tasty pastries and sandwiches.
I have heard raves about their coffee for years (some say it’s the best locally) even after a recent change of ownership. I never stopped by until this past Saturday. I was pleasantly surprised!
A local three piece band was playing (The V Tones, as the Lee Brothers referred to them in their Travel + Leisure article- Charleston post modern ragtime band) was playing in the nice courtyard area while little birds were bathing themselves in the fountain.
The crowd was an eclectic mix of the adult professional and granola set, parents with young children, college students studying, friends meeting for drinks, and even some local sci-fi/ fantasy fans playing a collectible card game. The exterior space is pet friendly and there was an adorable puppy holding court.
Even though the place was busy and the band was playing, I was able to do some writing and enjoy an iced latte in the sunshine. It was a perfect two hour afternoon and the staff was very friendly.
Now for the pronounciation lesson and how to find Kudu. It’s at 4 Vanderhorst Street . And how would you say “Vanderhorst?” I have lived here for many years now and I have heard three things all from born and bred Charlestonians. “Vandross,” “Vandraws,” and the phonetic “Vanderhorst.” Which is right? I don’t know. But I am going to go with the phonetic pronunciation.
My hunt for the proper way to say Vanderhorst led me to this little gem about local South Carolina pronunciations . One of the more fun things about moving/visiting new places is when the words get tricky or are of the more international variety, you get to hear how the region has co-opted the names/words. But every once in awhile you can get lost. Looking for “Hugee” Street and only seeing Huger street for example. All part of the fun of being someplace new.