The best way to feel the vibe of a city, in my opinion, is to step foot in one of their local coffee shops. Coffee shop culture runs high in this city, and in my heart. Sometimes we spend mornings, afternoons, and even evenings with a drink in our hands and heads in our laptop. Meet-ups, Meetings, Mic nights, and Me time…If you’re a coffee lover from around the globe, here are a handful of my favorite shops you need to hit on your next stop in the D.
Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters is located in one of my favorite nooks of downtown – Capitol Park. This indie style shop is a sanctuary for locals. With a name like ‘Dessert Oasis’ they’re well known for their rotating cheesecake and cookie assortment – I mean, Cap n’ Crunch cheesecake? Yes please. Not only do they serve some of the best coffee Detroit has to offer, they also serve up tunes weekly with Tuesdays Open-Mic nights.Their retail shelves feature DOR merchandise like custom candles and baseball jackets. I spend many days there holed up in a chair getting work done or meeting with friends, sippin’ on my favorite iced white peach tea.
The Red Hook Detroit
The Red Hook is that little gem every coffee shop lover hopes to wander across one day – AKA: me. This shop is located in the Brooklyn-esque neighborhood of West Village, providing a sense-of-community-in-the-city feeling. With ever-changing bakery items from friends in the area, their daily Quiches and Mexican inspired roasts, they’re always serving up something sweet. Red Hook is the go-to spot when you need a cozy corner to read a book, or for meet-ups with friends in the neighborhood before you head to work. I’m a sucker for their iced latte, americano’s, and the overall vibe of the shop. If you’re looking for the small town Detroit feel, this is the place for you.
This Modern Swedish style coffee shop on Woodward serves up a beautiful, simple space for that early morning rise and grind. New Order is well known for their Nitro Brew – black coffee, combined with nitrogen and pushed through a tap to give you a beer-like coffee drinking experience. They’re also known for their indulgent drinks like the Oreo Hot Chocolate, or Confetti Cake Ice Cream Nitro Float – Nitro Brew topped with cake batter ice cream, whip cream, and sprinkles – a sweet ass treat if you ask me. Not only is it a fun place to drink, it’s also a fun place to shop and learn. Their retail is an ensemble of drinkers items ranging from hot mugs to ‘how-to’ books to coffee kits. Follow along with their social media and you’ll get the deets on their Roasting Classes, held occasionally on Saturdays for the general public. If you have time to stop in for a class, or brew, it’s a must see spot.
A Detroit Staple. Located within the OG streets of Midtown on Canfield & Cass Ave, Shinola is known across the country for their signature leather, watches and bicycles. Their retail space doubles as a coffee shop so that you can drink, hangout and browse at your leisure. They’ve taken over not one, but two blocks of Detroit, with the opening of the Shinola Hotel on Woodward also sporting a seating area with food and coffee service. Shinolas’ space is peaceful and bright, and the service is 10/10. If you have a visit to the D coming up, make sure not to leave without visiting on of their locations.
New to our neighborhood – all the way from Grand Rapids, MI – this modern style shop just opened its doors in the Shinola alley. Lucky for us at Detroit Blows, that’s right next door. Madcap was originally a pop up in another downtown spot for the summer season, but permanently opened its doors in Detroit this winter. I think if Apple opened a coffee shop, this is what it would look like. It’s clean, bright, and all white featuring a unique design of tall standing tables. This is another one of those spots I love to hit in the early morning, always full of laughter and my favorite iced oat milk lattes. If you’re reading this Madcap, Welcome to the block!
With locations sprinkling across the states, Roasting Plant is known for their large variety of coffee beans stemming from regions of the world including Indonesia, East Africa, and The Caribbean. Fresh off the Press resonates heavily in this cafe – each cup of coffee is whole beans shot down from the ceiling then ground up and roasted right on the spot. Before you leave, you can pick a custom mix of coffee beans from their bean station ‘The Java Bot’ – like a candy shop, but for coffee beans. To help you choose, each dispenser has a description of the region its’ from, the coffee notes, etc. Their cold brew is the spike for an afternoon pick me up. This shop, in the heart of Downtown Detroit, is the perfect pit stop during the busy business day – a quicky that will leave you thirsty for more.
While its’ not technically within the city lines of Detroit, they regularly pop in and out. Drifter Coffee started as a small caboose, a traveling coffee car. You could usually find it at Eastern Market on Sundays, festivals, and other fun events in the Detroit area. Recently they opened their doors in Ferndale, right outside Detroit, and let me tell you – it is cute as hell. Drifter has quickly has become one of mine and my girlfriends favorites in the metro Detroit area. Inside you’ll find locally sourced baked goods, some female energy, Drifter coffee retail items, and a greenhouse giving it unique and eclectic vibe. I could cry thinking about how good their lemon pound cake was. If you’re ever in or around the area, make sure to check out their gorgeous space.
Urban Bean Co.
If you’ve so much as passed through downtown Detroit, I bet you’ve seen this building. The tiny bright orange box on the corner of Grand River and Griswold with floor to ceiling windows that looks almost like it could be a dollhouse? Thats a cozy little coffee shop. The retro vibes pair well with their out-of-the-box latte menu, and Michigan based brands like Dutch Girl Donuts, Vernors, and Great Lakes Coffee beans. Some nights you’ll find it a toasty shop full of bookworms, and other nights you can enjoy some tunes from the DJ’s that pass through quite often. If you’re ever looking for eclectic space to spend some time alone – Urban Bean Co., and their ‘Pure Evil’ latte, is the place for you.
Nina Nafal is a Detroit based Hairstylist, and Makeup Artist, with a creative eye towards business and social media. She spends her extra time focusing on ways to feel your best mentally and physically, and promotes living a positive and impactful life.
Photos By: Nina Nafal