Charlotte has no shortage of places to find a steaming cup of coffee, from bodegas (try The Common Market for hipster funk and some Sexy Power beans) to yoga studios (sip a French press at Okra yoga studio). But what about the more unusual options? Here are eight of the most unique coffee shops in Charlotte.Read More
8 of the Most Interesting Coffee Shops in Charlotte
From a cat cafe to CBD oil
CupLux Coffee Drive-Thru
CupLux debuted along the commercial strip of Freedom Drive last year as Charlotte’s first drive-thru-only craft coffee shop. Co-owner Ian Kolb and his staff crank out a menu geared toward commuters from the bright purple and grey (and easy-to-spot) hut-like building along the edge of the road. With seasonal infusions included (mmm, mocha habanero with dark chocolate), the menu offers items like espressos, cold-brew slushies, pastries and drip coffee.
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Enderly Coffee Company
Former teachers Becky and Tony Santoro launched this roasting company in 2012, before finally opening their brick-and-mortar shop to serve up pastries and handcrafted coffees this past summer. Relish the sunshine-yellow accents, kids’ corner, and a menu with creative and seasonal items like caramel apple cider, a salted maple latte and cold brews with surprising infusions like lemon. Each month, Enderly features a different nonprofit partner that benefits from the sales of custom coffee bean blends (November supports Foster Village Charlotte).
Mac Tabby Cat Cafe
This living dream for cat and coffee lovers offers hot or chilled coffee by Pure Intentions and kombucha by Lenny Boy Brewing Company, as well as light snacks. The main feature: Beyond the coffee counter, all fare is meant to be enjoyed from the comfort of the enclosed cat lounge (reservations are recommended). Here, adoptable cats play and roam free under whimsical lanterns, while the coffee drinkers get to pet them, check out the vivid art hanging on the walls, and sink into an armchair — or right onto the floor with the fluffballs.
This sunlit spot with a skyline view shares an entryway with LaCa Projects, a contemporary art gallery for Latin American works. Founders Bryce and Andrea Laguer opened the doors this spring to sync up with the gallery’s mission to facilitate a cross-cultural dialogue. Basal adds to that community element of that mission, as a space for conversation. The space actually feels like an extension of the art gallery, with ample open room, patterned wooden tables and cappuccinos served in ceramic coffee mugs that resemble works of art themselves. The menu adds familiar warmth — with pour overs, espressos and kids’ drinks (like chocolate milk), plus baked goods. The drink menu rotates every two weeks.
Amélie's French Bakery & Cafe | Uptown
The original location in the NoDa arts district is open 24 hours, but really all five Charlotte-area iterations of Amélie’s are cheerfully cluttered with the same kind of quirky decor — imagine faux trees dangling from the ceiling, mismatched tables and overstuffed chairs, striped wallpaper, odd framed photos, candelabras and beyond. The bakery offerings can’t be ignored — from the eclairs to the fruit tarts — and the coffee menu written in French spills over with everything from frothy cappuccinos to drip coffees. Don’t overlook heartier options like salads, soups and sandwiches either.
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This sleek and light-filled space designed to mirror the vibe of a true current boasts house-made syrups and artfully crafted beverages (like the seasonal Campfire Cappu-Tea-No with smoked Lapsang Souchong tea and steamed milk, vanilla brown sugar, dark chocolate, and, of course, a toasted marshmallow and cocoa powder). The menu also carries rich drip coffee as well as food featuring seasonal and local ingredients (think avocado toast, grit bowls and chia puddings). And just beyond the lounge-like seating area is the lab, technically a Specialty Coffee Association Premier Training Campus, where public classes and tastings are unrolled, plus SCA certification courses and workshops for coffee professionals.
This little, offbeat nook inside the Vigor Charlotte health spa serves locally roasted Magnolia Coffee as well as smoothies, able to be enjoyed inside or on the tiny patio bursting with brightly colored tables and chairs. The twist: CBD oil can be added to those drinks. The cafe also offers CBD oil in gummies, vials, vapes, chocolates and honeys.
The Suffolk Punch
This airy establishment off of the Charlotte Rail Trail in South End is a coffee-bar-meets-culinary-café-meets-taphouse with exposed red brick and green hanging plants for ambiance. Expect herbal teas, brewed coffees and coffee cocktails (like the “Gettin’ Figgy With It” with ginger beer, fig, lemon rind, thyme and a cold-brew ice cube). Stick around for a beer and something to eat, too — start with the veggie burger or the baked pimento cheese with tortilla chips.