Opened in 1992 by a Seattle transplant, this fiercely independent operation has weathered many changes—including a sale to the owner of Criminal Records—but it has never deviated from its basic mission as a serious espresso bar.
The original sleek, welcoming spot in Decatur is an outreach of the much smaller Batdorf & Bronson, a Washington State high-quality roaster whose nearly twenty-year presence in Atlanta helped spur our healthy espresso culture.
Steven Horwitz and Shira Levetan keep the neighborhood awake with strong coffee, fluffy biscuits, stacked pancakes, and fried matzo. We’ll brave long waits for the weekend-only gingerbread waffles with lemon curd.
This outpost of a growing New York–based chain looks like a cross between a slick coffee shop and (with planters of wheatgrass displayed on its counter) one of the many juice bars sprouting up across Atlanta.
As the name implies, the orange-brown van looks a bit creaky. But the crackerjack baristas from Steady Hand Pour House deliver sterling cups of coffee as well as specials like herbed lemonade.
At this always-packed hangout in Grant Park’s Jane building, baking whiz Sarah O’Brien displays the Little Tart’s ethereal pastries next to Octane’s gleaming coffee bar.