Here’s a coffee lover's guide to downtown Santa Rosa
Whether you’re a nonfat, extra hot, two-pump caramel latte in a reusable cup type of person or a black coffee in a to-go paper cup person, downtown Santa Rosa has a java spot for you.
Like snowflakes, no one has exactly the same take on their morning, afternoon or evening brew. We all have plenty of options.
Like attracts like, though, so we’ve broken down some favorite local coffee haunts by personality type.
The rainbow-painted crosswalk in front of Brew speaks volumes about the inclusive vibe of this combination coffeehouse and pub. Owned by partners Alisse Cottle and Jessica Borrayo, who both worked in the coffee industry, the artsy vibe attracts local creatives from the neighborhood. You’ll find them sipping Ritual Roasters pour-overs while doodling in notebooks.
A simple menu includes bagels, pastries, salads, soups and other nibbles. In the evenings, Brew hosts Drag Bingo, open mics, live music and a 4-6 p.m. happy hour.
Address: 555 Healdsburg Ave.
Maxi-minimalist: Acre Coffee
Restrained and minimalist, Acre’s audience is more of a locally sourced, organic, free trade crowd who likes to pair house-made granola and Straus yogurt with pour-overs. Space is equally minimal downtown, but the communal table with cheery terrariums is a favorite place to people-watch.
Its chai is unmatched, and donuts are made fresh daily in Petaluma for its nearby stores.
Address: 621 Fourth St.
Night owl: A’Roma
A’Roma is the people’s coffee shop. With a helluva good cup of coffee, along with teas and fancy espresso drinks, the focus is creating a community hangout with excellent people-watching rather than a discourse on pedigreed coffee beans. Open until 10 p.m., it’s also a good late-night hangout for writers, night owls and couples on nervous first dates.
Address: 95 Fifth St.
Dark side: Crooks
There’s a dark side to the latest entrant in the downtown coffee game, and it’s not just their coffee. Themed around the poet Edgar Allan Poe, fans will love the raven references and poetry books scattered around the shop. If you’re not a fan, the cozy tables (one has its own gas fireplace), an extensive drink list that includes a bruleed coffee and cheerful staff will win you over anyway.
Address: 404 Mendocino Ave.
OG local coffee fans: Flying Goat
Known to locals as “The Goat”, Railroad Square’s Flying Goat Coffee has long been a reliable spot for top-notch, locally roasted coffee. There are rarely open seats, but it’s just as fun to watch the SMART commuter train come and go from the parking lot. Sadly, you can’t sit on the tracks anymore.
Address: 10 Fourth St.
Drive-up Joe: Dutch Bros
This exuberantly friendly drive-up is all about tasty blended drinks and a party vibe. The tiny kiosk cranks out hundreds of high-octane drinks daily to the Santa Rosa High School and Junior College crowd who gather around pre- and post-class.
Whatever you order will be mega. Or extra. Or whatever the kids are saying these days.
Address: 1300 Mendocino Ave.
Frappuccino Fest: Starbucks
By now, most of us know the difference between a venti and a grande whether we want to or not, thanks to this Seattle monolith. As a nation we also can probably attribute at least a pound or two to a love affair with frappuccinos with extra whip and caramel.
Starbucks is the original, the classic, coffeehouse, whether you like it or not.
Address: Santa Rosa Plaza and at 200 D St.
Like it strong: Peet’s
Some call Peet’s an also-ran against Starbucks, and their histories are entwined. Pete’s however, has a loyal crowd of folks who love their super dark roasts, and less harried coffee bars.
Seats can be hard to come by, however, making it less of a hangout and more of a place to grab to-go joe. Address: 650 Fourth St.
Donut lovers: City Garden Donuts
Donuts plus coffee equal true love. Here you can get the best of both, with strong coffee and the best donuts in Santa Rosa.
Made fresh daily with brioche dough, the donuts come in flavors like maple with Hobbs, bacon, huckleberry, orange and apple cider.
The Lover’s Lane, an espresso made with honey and bee pollen, is a can’t miss.
Address: 1200 Fourth St.
Still hungry? Check out Heather’s always-updated food and dining blog at BiteClubEats.com.