Best Cafes in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective
With the year shifting towards the chillier months, I think it’s about time I cover one of my favorite subject: coffee, and where to drink it. You see, coffee truly is the beverage for every occasion. Just waking up? Coffee. Brunch? Coffee. Meeting friends for lunch? Coffee? Maybe it's headed towards midnight but by golly, the night is still young? Coffee.
As a matter of fact, these blogposts would not be made possible without my continuous intake of said caffeinated beverage. I mean that sincerely. Yes, I’m a coffee fan, a coffee freak, a coffee fanatic. Luckily, Asheville’s got no shortage of fine and fragrant places to enjoy your cup of joe. So, I invite you to read on, and discover five of the best cafes in Asheville.
Nestled inside an old double-decker bus, there’s no missing nor mistaking this downtown coffee shop. Where did the bus come from? Why is their destination marked “Trafalgar Square,” while the vehicle clearly has no means of cross-Atlantic propulsion? Do they pay for a parking meter or do they pay rent?
With a hot drink from Double D’s your brain functions shall be suitably quickened to contemplate all these questions and more. Their signature brews include a crème brulee late and red hot chili mocha, both perfect for a day of chilly weather. In warmer weather, you can enjoy a fruity smoothie or espresso-spiked milkshake at one of their umbrella-ed outdoor tables. Either way, a visit to this downtown Asheville café lands you within a short walk to the Museum of Art, and plenty of restaurants. A pretty good deal, if you ask me.
Hours: 10am to 8pm, Sunday through Thursday. 10 am to 8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. In the winter, they close at 7pm on weeknights, and 8pm on weekends.
If you’re planning a tour of the River Arts District's workshops and galleries, then you’re going to need some coffee. Located right in the center of the RAD, Ultra Coffeebar has you covered.
They’ve got the usual chais, lattes, and espressos, but I’ve long been fascinated with Ultra’s more exotic choices. Espresso soda, for instance, with honey lavender syrup. Frothy nitro cold brews, poured by tap. Both are perfect additions to Asheville’s most creative quarter.
For food, you can grab a plethora of bagels, sandwiches, and wraps, interspersed with vegan options galore.
Hours: 8am to 3pm, Sunday through Thursday. 8am to 3:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays.
No matter whether I find myself in north Asheville, south Asheville, or downtown, I can rest assured that a fine meal and finer coffee await me at the nearest Green Sage Café. For the main course, they’ve got a wide selection of fortifying omelets, platters, and bowls, all with a keen focus on sustainable and healthy ingredients.
But you all aren’t here for the solids, you’re here for the liquids: the liquid coffee. I’m partial to their simple dark roasts, although if I’m feeling wild and crazy I may have a matcha latte, or their elusive butter tea. What I suggest most of all, however, is their milkshakes. A bit more expensive than you may be used to, but their matcha mint and coconut chai are supremely delicious.
Hours: 8am to 4pm, every day.
If you’re going on the coffee-hunt in south Asheville—perhaps after a day of hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway—then might I suggest Biltmore Park’s Mosaic Café. They've got all the espressos and smoothies you can shake a stick at, but the main event is the food. Muffulettas, pimento cheese, caprese, clubs, cheesesteaks, tuna melts, Cubans—if you can stick it between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich, Mosaic serves it hot.
Call it a deli, call it a café. It doesn’t matter to me. This south Asheville café combines the best of both worlds.
Hours: 8am to 3pm, Monday through Friday. 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.
5: Well Played Board Game Café
Let’s say you’re sitting down someplace, with your friends, and you’re on your third cup of coffee. Your hands are starting to get fidgety. You’re re-arranging the silverware. Juggling the plates. Folding the straw wrappers into origami armies. The coffee’s in your fingers, and it’s itching for work.
Well Played provides the natural answer to this conundrum: board games. The perfect sink for your caffeine-enhanced energy and attention. The two simply go hand in hand, and for my money, there’s no better way to while away an afternoon than with some bright-eyed companions and a board game that none of you have ever played before.
To make things even more enticing, Well Played’s menu has a spread to match their gargantuan library of games. Brownies a la mode, peperoni flatbread, charcuterie boards, duck fat pretzel bites, café au lait, macchiato, local craft beer, cocktails, and Irish coffee. A little something for everyone at this excellent Asheville board game café.
Day-passes go at $10 on the weekends, and $7 Monday through Thursday. Discounts for kids under fourteen.
Hours: 8am to 10pm, every day.
Double D's Coffee & Desserts
41 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
242 Clingman Ave Ext, Asheville, NC 28801
Green Sage Café (Downtown)
5 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801
Green Sage Café (North)
633A Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Green Sage Café (South)
1800 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803
1 Town Square Blvd Suite 150, Asheville, NC 28803
Well Played Board Game Café
162 Coxe Ave Suite 101, Asheville, NC 28801