Ever heard that they have good coffee in Seattle? You heard right, my friend. Good bakeries, too. Seattle is full of cafes where you can order your favorite forms of caffeine and sugar. These congenial spots are a way of life in the city where the first Starbucks opened in 1971 and is now pointed out as a tourist attraction. Here’s a brief list of coffees and cafes of special merit.
* Ancient Grounds: For an unusual Seattle espresso experience, stop in at Ancient Grounds not far from Pike Place Market. It’s both a cafe and an intimate art gallery, loaded with intriguing treasures including Native American and Asian masks and netsuke. The espresso is strong, the ambience pure Seattle. Just don’t expect smiling or overly friendly service. 1220 1st Ave. tel. 206/749-0747.
* Caffe Ladro Espresso Bar & Bakery: Serving only organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee, Caffe Ladro serves a good latte and a small selection of baked goodies. They have locations elsewhere, but this one is convenient if you’re downtown near Pike Place Market or the Seattle Art Museum. 801 Pine St. www.caffeladro.com. tel. 206/405-1950.
* Caffe Umbria: The Bizzarri family has been roasting beans since grandfather Ornello opened his first shop in Perugia, Italy. Five blends are available, including fair-trade beans. Enjoy a heavenly extra-foamy cappuccino at the Pioneer Square location. 320 Occidental Ave. S. www.caffeumbria.com. tel. 206/624-5847.
* Macrina Bakery: This Belltown café is justly famous for its baked goods—their morning bun is the best I’ve ever had—and for their excellent breakfasts and lunch specials. Get one of their great lattes to go with your nosh and you’re set. 2408 1st Ave. www.macrinabakery.com. tel. 206/448-4032.
* Starbucks: Seattle’s coffee culture began at this little shop at Pike Place Market back in 1971. The very first Starbucks still features the chain’s original brand image of the topless mermaid with a double fish tail, an image that was toned down over the years as the Starbucks brand became ubiquitous and they didn’t want to offend anyone. 1912 Pike Pl. tel. 206/448-8762.
* Zeitgeist Coffee: This spacious European-style coffeehouse in Pioneer Square is an urban oasis and cultural hub that serves up film screenings and rotating exhibits by local artists along with its popular Italian beans. 171 S. Jackson St. www.zeitgeistcoffee.com. tel. 206/583-0497.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.