Best Buzz Stops in Austin

Get your caffeine fix at these favorite Austin coffee shops that also feature organic fare and local artwork.

Austin has long had a thriving and diverse coffeehouse culture. While some of the legendary coffeehouses of the ’80s and ’90s (particularly those near the University of Texas campus) haven’t survived, a number of locally owned cafés continue to flourish, with four of the best ones located either downtown or in neighborhoods adjacent to downtown. Be sure to visit at least one of these of these hangouts for a taste of local coffee flavor on your next Austin vacation.

Progress Coffee

Progress Coffee, started in 2004, anchors a warehouse-turned-office complex just east of downtown—and embodies the green-minded, creative spirit taking over East Austin. Progress prides itself on having some of the best coffee in the city, via its partnership with Owl Tree Roasting. In addition to its fair trade and organic coffee choices, Progress serves an assortment of gourmet sandwiches (using local and organic fare), vegetarian wraps, breakfast items and assorted desserts, as well as beer and wine. Gregarious owner Joshua Bingaman maintains a comfortable, efficient and thoroughly sustainable home base for his clientele of artists and young professionals.

500 San Marcos St. Tel. 512-493-0963. Hours: Mon. to Fri. 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat. 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun. 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Little City Espresso Bar & Café

Little City Espresso Bar & Café, on the north edge of downtown, halfway between the Texas State Capitol and the Paramount Theater, has been touting its “coffee promotes confidence” motto for the better part of two decades. The café has a relaxed yet elegant feel, and includes a number of sidewalk tables placing patrons directly in the middle of the action on Congress Avenue. Little City also offers a range of lunch items, including its legendary hummus, wasabi tuna sandwiches, and crustini and lox plates.

916 Congress Ave. Tel. 512-476-2489. Hours: Mon. to Fri. 8 to 12 a.m., Sat. 9 to 12 a.m., Sun. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Jo’s, the unofficial gateway to the fun and funky shops of South Congress, is—according to its own Web site—a “coffee shack” rather than a café proper. But with a covered outdoor patio, a solid selection of coffees and teas, and a happily uncomplicated aesthetic, Jo’s has become a favorite hangout for Austinites. Its spacious parking lot, shared with the urbane and upscale Hotel San Jose, becomes one of the hippest venues in town during the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival, and on the many weekends in which the weather cooperates, becomes a favorite spot for dogs and their owners to enjoy the day.

1300 South Congress Ave. Tel. 512-444-3800. Hours: Sun. to Fri. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Jo’s on Second

Though owned by the same group that owns the original Jo’s, Jo’s on Second is decidedly different from its South Congress namesake. It’s one of the most distinctive storefronts in the chic Second Street District near City Hall—and that’s saying a lot given the unique stores on just its block alone. In addition to its coffees and teas, it features an impressive menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, including omelets, pancakes, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, a turkey Rueben and even a gourmet take on the Frito Pie.

242 W. Second St. Tel. 512-469-9003. Hours: Mon. to Fri. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Destinations: Austin

Themes: Urban Endeavors

Activities: Eat