Pumpkin spice? Pumpkin belongs in pies. Keep it out of my coffee and far away from my beer.
I know, I know… In today’s society, that’s sacrilege! Truth be told, I simply prefer a straight-up cup of joe. Is that really so weird?
For this blog, I’ve been tasked to write about some of my favorite coffee spots in town… It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Believe it or not, I’ve been caffeinated at ALL of these places. I’ll take their word on the specialty drinks. I’m only there for the beans!
Bodacious Brew, Brew Thru & Bodacious Bookstore & Cafe
Years ago, Bodacious Brew bravely opened in a relatively sparse downtown at Palafox & Main Street. Baristas told long stories about the effects of relative humidity and Peruvian mountains on a brew’s smoothness as they swirled smiley faces and heart symbols into your cappuccino.
Nowadays, they’re too busy. In recent years the original Bodacious Brew has expanded into a restaurant with a full breakfast menu with quiches, sandwiches, wraps and pastries. There’s also a gourmet olive oil shop called Bodacious Olive, the So Chopped salads and lunch bar, and the So Gourmet dining supply shop upstairs. It’s spectacular - and always bustling. The coffee is good. My favorite is the Cortado — a compact sweetened Cuban espresso drink laced with multiple shots. There are plenty of fancy drinks too. All tasty — or so I’ve heard.
The Bodacious Brew Thru is basically a drive-through and walk-up joint around the corner on Main Street. No fuss, just coffee and fancier drinks, pastries and great service. A few blocks away, at the Southtowne complex, the Bodacious Bookstore and Cafe opened at 110 E. Intendencia — in case folks didn’t want to walk the extra 300 yards to Bodacious Brew. Oh, there’s coffee — and books! They sell books and coffee drinks, hence the name.
Fosko Coffee Barre Goes Full Barre!
Far to the north of Bodacious (about 1/3 of a mile), Fosko Coffee Barre opened as an architecturally beautiful, quaint coffee stop at 8 South Palafox Place. It’s connected to a sister business where people in yoga pants hold onto a ballet barre and stretch. Interesting!
With brick walls, window-front leather lounge chairs perfect for safe people watching, it’s a favorite daytime stop for coffee, crepes and powerful pocket-sized cheesecakes. They brew an excellent pour-over and all the lattes and such. You can also stop in for an evening coffee or, now, a cocktail. Recently, Fosko went “full barre” — they obtained a liquor license. And this just in — because it wasn’t when I was there last, but they imported a hand-made Swiss absinthe fountain. Now, let’s put a heart and a smiley face in that!
Constant Coffee & Tea
Constant Coffee (& Tea) is a great neighborhood brew stop in East Pensacola Heights along Scenic Highway — just a few minutes from downtown Pensacola. Open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, they have a neat game room and serve up some killer beans. I love their coffee and espresso. I’ve heard folks rave about their hazelnut lattes and this thing called “chai.” Whatever you say, bearded skinny guy!
What I really like is their freshness - I was chowing down on a breakfast slider and the staff rushed out my requested mustard. They had just finished making it from scratch. Wow, I thought all mustard came from a jar…
Additionally, Constant Coffee just opened a new location on Palafox Street in the Brent Building breezeway. Slightly more upscale, this new location differs from the original coffee shop in its design features and menu. Upon entering, you'll notice a lunch counter feel, and cocktail-style drinks like an espresso tonic and mint julep, but made with coffee instead of alcohol.
Dolce & Gelato/ Revolver Records
The coffee/gelato/LP and live music scene in the East Hill neighborhood just got a big boost when Dolce opened up at the corner of Jordan Street and 12th Avenue - a mere 143 yards from my house. (But hey, who’s counting?)
Imagine a place with coffee, gelato, sofas, and occasional live music in an embedded record store… Now you understand why I’ve practically moved in there.
The coffees are your Italian favorites: espresso, coffee, breve, cappuccino, etc., and they serve wine and frosty local draft beer too. The concerts and live gigs are a lively addition to the neighborhood, and well worth a visit.
The Bon Beans Organic Coffee, Tea and Juice
Bon Beans serves up organic Fair Trade organic coffee, teas and raw juices, with some gluten-free vegan eats too. Their coffee, from Project Congo, Project Chiapas, Colombia and Ethiopia, is so crazily good — it’s worth the round trip from the coast itself.
For those not a fan of coffee, their raw juice features organic fruits and veggies are prepped through a cold press juice system, locking in the nutrients and flavors.
Where was Mojo back in the days when I lived on Perdido Key? I drove for miles to get my fix… Mojo is a great little stop in on Gulf Beach Highway — just before the turn to head onto the Theo Baars Bridge over the Intracoastal Canal. It’s cozy, and like every place around Perdido Key, family-like and friendly. They serve Bad Ass brand coffee drinks and bagels, muffins and pastries.
The Coffee Guy
With all the great coffee spots in town, it was a refreshing surprise to see The Coffee Guy garner such an avid following in town. This is a working-folks coffee stop. A beautiful cafe tucked into the bustling shopping and business district along Davis Highway, the Coffee Guy features locally roasted coffee and crafted gourmet coffee drinks.
Yes, they have pumpkin spice, but also my secret favorite - peppermint mocha. Please don’t tell my Italian friends…
The Leisure Club
Coffee, food and vegan-friendly too. Once a downtown stop - The LC took its lime-green chairs and lounge booths away from downtown to the outskirts of Cordova Mall along 12th Avenue.
They exclusively serve Intelligentsia coffee, the prideful beans brewed in Chicago. This coffee is good enough that I’ll take the espresso straight — but I still add honey…
The LC also serves up a killer “Choc-o-nut” coffee smoothie. Keeps me going and going. They are open 7 days a week, offering breakfast, lunch and Happy Hour. The coffee drinks are joined by champagne, mimosas and sake bloody Mary’s for their brunches on Saturday and Sunday. The crab cakes are also awesome — and no, that’s not a coffee drink.
Drowsy Poet Pensacola Beach
Finally. You no longer have to leave Pensacola Beach to get an awesome (not-hotel) cup of Joe. And this coffee spot comes with a gorgeous view that makes it difficult for me to focus while I’m writing…
Drowsy Poet has a number of great spots in town, including a fantastic little Drowsy Poet coffee hut serving drive-through commuters at Airport Boulevard and I-110 (my pit stop). But these specialty coffee and espresso drinks are served on the third floor of the marina perched on beautiful Little Sabine.
You can order scones and other bakery items, along with oatmeal and a variety of breakfast sandwiches. Looking for Little Sabine? (The marina to the right as you enter Pensacola Beach.)
Have a favorite coffee shop we forgot to mention? Tell us below!