Whether you go to coffee shops to catch up with friends, to savor a well-crafted cortadito (you connoisseur you), or you’re just looking for an inviting atmosphere where you can go to crank out a slide deck on your laptop, Gainesville has a coffee shop for everyone. Stick to these recommendations and you’ll never have to step foot in a Starbucks again.
Before we dive in, we want to give a special thanks to everyone who supported these business and helped them weather the worst impacts of the pandemic, so they can continue providing us with places to meet, converse, hatch ideas, fall in love, nurse hangovers, and of course, enjoy great coffee!
Curia on the Drag
2029A NW 6th St, Gainesville, FL | (352) 792-6444
Between the tall gates at the NW 6th Street entrance, the velociraptor guarding the parking lot and the colorfully painted old hippie bus parked in the back, the Curia complex makes an eclectic first impression. Inside, the cafe is carefully curated, cozy, and run by seasoned pros.
Being just off the beaten path of the university but still close to Downtown Gainseville, Curia attracts a lively mix of local professionals, students, hipsters, and families on weekend outings. The decor is inviting, artful, and always changing. Get there early in the morning to nab a coveted spot at one of the hand-hewn reclaimed wood bars. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating, including picnic tables by the food truck.
Curia serves a variety of pastries with many vegan and gluten-free options. You can also grab a snack to go. The sweet rice pudding is one of our faves. There’s a food truck parked out back in case you want a more substantial bite to eat. Regulars rave about the loaded tater tots. As with the cafe’s baked goods, they offer plenty of vegan options.
The cafe anchors a cute little cluster of businesses that includes protocol gallery, AUK Market boutique, and Dad’s Bar. We like to think of it as a mini-Portland, but with a decidedly Floridian flair.
In addition to the great coffee, friendly service and charming interior, what we love about Curia is the variety of people who come here. There’s plenty of space to stretch out, so the loud talkers and the worker bees hunched over their laptops can all enjoy their coffee in peace and harmony.
Curia is an LGBTQ-friendly space. On the second Saturday of each month they host Drag Brunch, an afternoon of fabulous drag performances, vegan brunch and mimosas, all in the open air. Check their Facebook for upcoming events.
Patticakes in the Village
9124 SW 51st Rd B-102, Gainesville, FL | (352) 328-3945
Patticakes motto is “connected people are the happiest”. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we stop in to say hi to our friends at Patticakes whenever we get the chance.
Located in the lovely Haile Village Center in the Haile Plantation neighborhood, this cafe is the kind of spot where the staff know their customers by name — and their dogs names too. If you want to escape the feeling that you’re in an extended university library, this is the place to go. The atmosphere is lively and warm. It’s a family-friendly spot that’s also good for casual business meetings. (Psst… they recently launched a new location at Tioga Town Center.)
You can get your coffee fix and indulge your sweet tooth at the same time here. The cupcakes are moist and the frosting is dense and smooth. They also serve breakfast wraps and paninis.
Our favorite espresso drink is the cortadito. The Cuban-inspired drink is shorter than a latte, the milk is creamy and not as frothy, and it packs just as much of a caffeine punch. The honey bee latte will also get you buzzing.
The windows of the café look out on a small park with a fountain and benches. They also have outdoor seating along the quaint brick sidewalks that make Haile Village so charming. The place fills up on weekends, so get there early if you want to stay and hang out.
While you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by Rabell’s offices at 5213 SW 91st Terrace and say hi!
Related: Top 5 Restaurants in Haile
The new kid on the block, Wyatt’s set up shop behind the Hampton on Main Street in the heart of downtown Gainesville. This bright, airy café attracts a mix of students, tourists and a smattering of locals. Take a seat at one of the blond wood tables, crack open your laptop and transport yourself into coffee heaven.
Wyatt’s espresso drinks are excellent, full stop. On any given day they offer at least two types of espresso beans sourced from different parts of the coffee-growing world, with notes on their flavor profiles. Their tea offerings come from Tebella, a solid loose leaf operation based in Tampa. The staff are always friendly and welcoming.
Seating can be pretty tight and the vibe is usually work-a-day. The decor is fashionably minimalist, a well thought out and Instagram-friendly blend of white tile, bold navy accents, and potted plants.
It’s worth noting that Wyatt’s is a Black and Latinx owned shop. Gabe and Aleena opened Wyatt’s in 2018 with the firm belief that a loving and kind specialty coffee experience should be accessible to all people. And that’s exactly what they’ve gone on to accomplish.
Volta Coffee, Tea & Chocolate
48 SW 2nd St, Gainesville, FL | (352) 271-4361
True to its Italian-inspired name, Volta does coffee with as much panache and care as they do in Europe, or at any great stateside third-wave coffee shop. In 2011 Complex magazine named Volta one of the best coffee shops in the United States. Since then a few cafes in Gainesville have caught up with them, but Volta still remains near the top of the heap.
The baristas here really know their stuff. They make a mean pour-over — perfectly extracted and balanced — and their espresso drinks are solid too. If you’re not a total connoisseur you might not get all the fuss, but trust us, Volta goes the extra mile, and that attention to detail and sourcing shows in the quality of their drinks.
The atmosphere is open and airy, with an industrial vibe to the decor and furnishings. They offer a variety of seating options, from high tops to communal tables. A favorite of writers and their grad student entourages, it’s quite possible that your tablemate is working on the next Great American novel (but is more likely grading papers). There’s also plenty of outdoor seating on SW 2nd Street.
In terms of food options, the quiche is our go-to for a savory quick bite. Volta also carries a variety of decadent chocolates from around the world. Omnom from Iceland is one of our favorites. Volta is one of the only places you can find it on the shelf.
Quittin’ time for the day? You’re walking distance to Loosey’s Bar and a string of great restaurants on SW 1st Ave, including Crame Ramen and Paramount Grill.
All right folks, one more and then we’re really going to have to get back to work. We’re totally jacked up right now.
CYM Coffee Co
5404 NW 8th Ave, Gainesville, FL | (352) 224-5101
From the big couches, the bean bags, and the cat that may occasionally grace you with its presence, CYM does a good job of making its customers feel at home. The building was literally a home before it became a cafe. One of the owners spent some time on the West Coast and wanted to recreate the laid back vibe of a cafe near the beach. The atmosphere is upbeat, the staff are welcoming and chatty, and they’ve nailed the laid back part, but alas, you’ll have to use your imagination to smell the sea spray in the air and hear the surf breaking in the distance.
The coffee is definitely up to snuff, and they offer a dizzying range of flavors to choose from. The honey lavender latte is one of our favorites.
Being a little farther from the university, you wouldn’t expect to find so many students here, though it never gets library quiet. And hey, they could have chosen to rent study space at the Starbucks instead of supporting this awesome local business.
Seating indoors is limited, so consider yourself lucky if you’re able to snag a love seat. They make up for it with more seating on the wraparound porch, a peaceful spot for enjoying a cold brew or a craft brew on a warm day. CYM hosts live music some evenings outside on the lawn.
CYM is located just down the street from Cofrin Nature Park, if you’re in the mood for a tranquil hike.
Related: 5 Best Walking Trails in Gainesville
OK, we lied. We’re going to do one more. There really is no shortage of great coffee shops in Gainesville.
Maudes Coffee House
101 SE 2nd Pl, Gainesville, FL | (352) 336-9646
Maudes really shines because of its location and lively environment. Located right next door to the Hippodrome Theater in downtown Gainesville, the brick-paved courtyard is one of the ultimate places to sit and people watch in the city. When the weather allows, which it does for much of the year, locals and students converge on Maudes for the coffee, craft beer, quick bites, and huge selection of baked goods.
Unique among the coffee shops we’ve included here, Maudes stays open until 11pm on weekend nights. At some point in the late afternoon/early evening the cafe seamlessly transforms into a bar, and out come the board games and alcoholic beverages (actually, you can get a beer whenever you want, we’re not judging). The decor is homey, and they offer lots of cozy booths inside as well as overflow seating in the Sun Center’s atrium.
The coffee is decent, but their croissants are delicious, and did we mention the baked goods?! The (vegan) peanut butter chocolate layer cake is named after David Bowie. Five stars.
Maudes is something of an anti-Starbucks, brimming with character, from the local art hanging on the walls to the local characters who while the day away in the patio. The Starbucks across the street, far from stealing Maudes’ thunder, probably siphons off the kind of people who demand a sterile and uniform coffee shop experience. They regularly host events and are always looking for local artists to grace their walls with their work. Check out their Instagram for more info.
Well, hope you enjoyed our rundown of the best coffee shops in Gainesville. There really were too many to mention them all, so if you swear by a cafe we didn’t cover, let us know in the comments!