My friend Diana manages to achieve a coffee lifestyle some of us might dream about. You can often find her with an open notebook, paper, and a warm cup of coffee somewhere near her teaching job in Nashville, Tennessee. I wrote to Diana asking what were her top coffee shops in Nashville. She wrote, “COFFEE. That is definitely something I’ve learned to appreciate now that I’ve lived in Nashville for awhile.” Following is Diana’s detailed list of great coffee shops in Nashville. A big thanks to her for this!
1. Barista Parlor, Golden Sound — location: The Gulch (wifi, yes). Actually the second Barista Parlor in Nashville, but it has better natural lighting than the original, which in my eyes makes it superior. Barista Parlor is all about atmosphere (see: hipster grunge, but less grunge-tastic in The Gulch location) and true coffee appreciation. The selection of coffee is limited, but every choice is phenomenal. Additionally, Barista Parlor serves fantastic biscuits, homemade pop-tarts, and macarons. Also, the best part about Barista Parlor is that it attracts a lot of creative individuals. There’s a certain je ne sai quois that buzzes in the air. I adore it.
2. CREMA — location: downtown (wifi, yes). CREMA is fantastic, because it roasts its own coffee and feels cozy. I love the location, because it’s not in a specific neighborhood. The clientele is not as hip as Barista Parlor, but it’s a great place to study, read, and grade. CREMA also offers coffee classes. I fully plan on participating in some classes this semester. The food at CREMA is also really tasty. I don’t know how Nashville coffee shops do it, but they manage to make brunch foods okay for the entire day.
3. J&J’s — location: midtown (wifi, yes). J&J’s was my favorite café to study in college. It’s close to Vanderbilt’s campus, so it draws in a lot of college students and intellectual grad students. The interior hosts funky mixed up furniture, exposed brick walls, and an eclectic little grocery store (filled with international snacks). J&J’s is the home of two of my favorite coffee drinks in Nashville: The Keeker’s Koffler (earl grey vanilla latte) and The Rousseau & Bourke (two shots of EARTH SHATTERING espresso and a scoop of ice cream). I go whenever I’m feeling nostalgic. Also, I love going early Saturday or Sunday morning, because there aren’t many people, but the owner is there, so he plays classy classical music tunes. On sunny mornings, the light filters in just so, and it just feels right.
4. Edgehill Cafe — location: Edgehill (wifi, yes). Edgehill Café has great coffee, but the best part about it is probably the food. It’s always fresh and yummy. Nashville tends to serve larger portions, so it’s more food than what a person can generally consume. I like the iced tea that Edgehill serves and it’s a great location, because there are a variety of seating options (stools/window benches, tables, cozy couches). There’s a wall of windows along one side, so again, fantastic lighting. As you can probably tell by now, I’m a fan of well-lit cafés.
5. Frothy Monkey — location: 12 South (wifi, shaky). Frothy Monkey is located in 12 South, which is an already gentrified neighborhood in Nashville. It’s cute and hip, filled with little boutiques like Cadeau, White’s Mercantile, and of course… JENI’S ice cream. Frothy Monkey is a popular cafe, so there are always a lot of people walking in and out. On weekends, it’s filled with hip, young parents and their babies getting together for brunch. On weekdays, it’s filled with college students and creative types. Still kind of hip, but more of a friendly, southern vibe. I really enjoy their vanilla lattes. Something about them feel cozy.