Central Perk: 5 of the Best Coffee Shops in San Diego

Central Perk: 5 of the Best Coffee Shops in San Diego

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Today, we woke up inspired and decided to get mad local. 

Well, that’s really only half the story. We also woke up seriously groggy (imagine that?), so we took the two thoughts and mashed ‘em up into the following list of our favorite San Diego coffee shops. Note that this is a quick-hitter not at all meant to be comprehensive, so if your favorite spot to grab a Cup of Joe isn’t included, don’t put our head on a pike just yet… there’ll undoubtedly be a follow-up feature soon enough!


1. Holsem Coffee


Image via @holsemcoffee

Location: 2911 University Avenue


Good. Stuff. That’s Holsem Coffee.

If you’re looking for just a wee bit of elaboration, though, you’ll be pleased to know this small-batch North Park roaster offers an array of fair-trade Java, blended teas, and dope eats. We’re talking espresso shakes, strawberry malt mochas, and various cold-brew options on nitro. Most everything is all-natural and house-created, and if you want to get your nom on, pastries are also available!


2. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters


Image via @birdrockcoffeeroasters

Location: Main roasting facility w/ coffee bar is at 1270 Morena Blvd.


Bird Rock Coffee Roasters has been kicking ass since 2006. Local roasting doesn’t get much better—it nabbed Roast magazine’s “Micro Coffee Roaster of the Year” award in 2012—and there’s definitely a laid-back vibe via its communal table at the original Morena Blvd. location. Bear in mind, though, that there are now also locations in La Jolla and Little Italy, hopefully putting this destination within easy striking distance for ya.

Deeply into giving back and being involved with the local community, they also host a Live Acoustic Music/Open Mic Series!


3. James Coffee Co.


Image via @jamescoffeeco

Location: 2355 India St.


If you have a big day ahead—either caught in a cubicle or catching some waves—James Coffee Co. is calling your name as surely as the surf itself is (or your boss, ugh). David Kennedy’s India Street sanctuary specializes in single-origin coffees, handcrafted blends (espresso, batch brew, and pour over!), and pastries courtesy of Le Parfait Paris. There’s also a bounty of space to mill about in and a collection of nearby boutique shops.


4. The Living Room


Image via The Living Room

Location: 1010 Prospect St., La Jolla (also SDSU and National City)


Describing themselves as “a European cafe with a Californian flair,” The Living Room first opened in Thanksgiving 1991 to offer the college crowd at SDSU some brain fuel ahead of finals. Now, residents of all walks of life throughout San Diego have the pleasure of enjoying their three locations, which specialize in the sublime combo of a laid-back, unpretentious coffee attitude and a sensational atmosphere.


5. Lofty Coffee Co.


Image via @loftycoffeeco

Location: 444 W. Cedar St (also locations in Encinitas and Solana Beach)


Lofty Coffee Co.’s latest location in Little Italy continues the brand’s steadfast dedication to coffee, espresso, and cold brews. However, this destination branches out with a scratch-baking kitchen, meaning you can pair your salted caramel latte with cookies, croissants, or even a variety of paninis, salads, poached eggs, and more. (Peep the image above for a grand idea of it all!)

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