It’s been said that friends bring happiness into your life; best friends bring coffee. And Chattanooga’s locally owned coffee shops each have a flavor of their own. These are five of our favorites.
Rembrandt’s Coffee House
411 East 2nd Street
Rembrandt’s Coffee House is a European-style cafe located in the bustling Bluff View Art District. Voted Best Local Coffee Shop by Chattanoogans more than 10 years running, Rembrandt’s Coffee House is best remembered by newcomers for its hand-dipped chocolates and handmade pastries. It’s a local tradition to complement your coffee, latte, cappuccino, macchiato, mocha, or tea – on each visit – with something sweet from behind the glass. Whether it’s for today or to-go, you can pick out chocolate eclairs, Religieuse (a pâte à choux filled with mousse), lemon tarts, tiramisu, and other goodies made in-house. And if you can answer the question of the day without polling the guests who came before you, you’ll score a House-Roasted Drip Coffee for free. Here, hot breakfasts include French toast and Rembrandt’s Rancheros (corn tortillas with baked egg, pepper jack cheese, black bean relish, and a chipotle cream sauce). If you’re more of a breakfast purist, the Egg and Cheese Sammy is simply a baked egg with your choice of breakfast cheese and bread.
Mean Mug Coffeehouse
114 W Main Street & 205 Manufacturers Road
Mean Mug Coffeehouse’s first location launched in Chattanooga in 2017 in Northshore, specializing in roasting single-origin coffee beans for its custom menu. Now with four locations across the county (two downtown), the vibe here is modern but comfortable. At the Southside location, the walls are exposed brick, with the ductwork near the ceiling painted a goldenrod yellow. There’s black spotlight track lighting and wood paneling – striped with multiple shades of stain – on the front of the bar. While the beans on roast at Mean Mug rotate, the current menu includes the Mean Mug Espresso Blend, with beans from Brazil, Guatemala, and Tanzania; Honduras, a fair trade organic honey-processed coffee; and Decaf Columbia, from smallholder farmers in the Huila region and known for its cupping notes of lemon-lime, mild berry, and graham cracker. At Mean Mug, you can also order breakfast, lunch, and pastries seven days a week (think: steel cut oats, a smoked salmon bagel, a curry sweet potato hash bowl, or a croissant).
Stone Cup Cafe
208 Frazier Avenue
Stocked with coffees from Stone Cup Roasting Co., a Chattanooga brand that purchases green coffee beans from around the world, there are a few promises on board when you head to this staple Northshore cafe with views of the Tennessee River. First, you’ll never be served a coffee that’s over a week old. Second, the porch is pet-friendly. At Stone Cup Cafe, the coffee bar keeps it simple: hot or iced coffee and tea, cold brew, Americano, Chai, London Fog, latte, turtle mochas, caramel macchiato, and a Dirty Chai. Breakfast and lunch options include a bagel with cream cheese, sausage melt, avocado toast, BLT, chicken salad, and hummus plate. And this isn’t a coffee shop only for earlybirds. The venue plays host to Wine and Jazz Night, singer/songwriter sessions, and the occasional game night. Stone Cup Cafe’s biggest brag may just be its location. Located on Frazier Avenue, it’s walking distance to the Walnut Street Walking Bridge, Coolidge Park, Backstreet Betty’s, Blue Skies, and The Winder Binder Mercantile.
735 Broad Street
Originating as a coffee cart serving at local events, Sleepyhead Coffee opened its brick and mortar cafe in 2019 with a very specific intent: to be a safe place for individuals of every race, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, and gender. Need a place to create, chat with friends, read a book, or relax with a cup of coffee? Everyone is welcome. If you’re in a hurry or want something waiting for you when you arrive, Sleepyhead Coffee’s website allows you to order ahead. In addition to coffee, lattes, cafe au lait, apple and pumpkin chai, espresso soda, and other coffeehouse favorites, Sleepyhead is also a great stop for gluten-free and vegan donuts, all baked in-house. The Strawberry Rhubarb Poppytart is made by Poppytons Patisserie and is filled with strawberry rhubarb jam and dusted with powdered sugar. A second satellite location of Sleepyhead Coffee will open in Southside later this year.
1400 Market Street
Part coffeehouse, part restaurant, Frothy Monkey is located at the Chattanooga Choo Choo in Southside. The signature coffees on-site, roasted in Nashville, include the medium roasted 12 South Blend, and Frothy’s Cold Brew Coffee is available in cans or on draft. The business’ Roaster Series showcases innovative coffee producers moving the industry forward. In June 2021, the series’ first feature was a Colombia Pink Bourbon named Claudia Samboni, sourced and roasted by Chattanooga’s own Daniel Lopez. Early in the day, Frothy Monkey’s menu includes the Cheesy Grit Bowl (warm feta cheese grits with chilled prosciutto, arugula, tomato jam, and sour cream) and the California (two farm-fried eggs over medium on top of two slices of sourdough toast with an avocado wedge, sprouts, and house-made salsa on the side). Dinner is served after 4 p.m. daily and features everything from burgers and salads to pasta and fish.