Here are several independently owned coffee shops you can support in Charlotte

 By Liz Logan

September 8, 2021

Photo: Undercurrent Coffee

Charlotte is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Falling right in line with that growth is the local coffee scene. A lot has changed from the years of NoDa’s Smelly Cat Coffee holding down the fort for Charlotte coffeehouses. By the 2010s, spots like Central Coffee and Not Just Coffee began to broaden, not only the landscape, but the caliber of coffee available. While commercial shops have their place, Charlotte’s independent coffee scene has taken on significant momentum, with new shops popping up regularly.

Drip coffee (still prevalent and a coffee shop staple) has been elevated to single-origin coffee brewed as pour overs and AeroPress. Serving coffee has evolved from the late-90’s coffeehouse vibe into a more specialized branch of our local craft beverage industry. All across the city long-time favorites meet with newcomers, while other shops are expanding and even merging for new endeavors. 

Central Coffee

A Plaza Midwood original, sitting on the corner of Central Avenue and Louise Avenue, Central Coffee has been serving a loyal community since its opening in 2009. Owners Louisa and Jimmy Kleto have been instrumental in shaping Charlotte’s coffee community through their welcoming environment, commitment to customers and inclusivity. The original Plaza Midwood location is a cozy contrast to the cafe-style seating found in the South End location, which opened in 2016. Each shop is distinct with crafted coffee drinks made from Hillsborough’s Joe Van Goh Coffee. Housemade pastries and treats including savory scones and Move That Dough vegan donuts make it easy to treat yourself at either location.

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Plaza Midwood
719 Louise Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28204

South End
1700 Camden Rd. #101
Charlotte, NC 28203

Not Just Coffee

With humble beginnings in Optimist Park’s Area 15, Not Just Coffee has evolved from a small corner spot serving pour overs to a Charlotte coffee empire. After a short time at Area 15, Not Just Coffee moved into 7th Street Public Market where they gained national notoriety, allowing for expansion into multiple neighborhoods. Since 2011, Not Just Coffee has primarily served North Carolina-based Counter Culture Coffee for batch brew and espresso drinks, arguably setting the stage for Charlotte’s coffee boom. 

With six area locations, Not Just Coffee provides specially curated spaces fueled by passion, education and a commitment to community. The Jay Street location (shared with Hygge coworking) hosts local musicians with a small selection of wine and beer, as well as a retail section in partnership with Tabor, where they have a small shop complete with front porch seating. Atheron Mill is expanding, with the building to include a more expansive food menu,  cuppings and learning opportunities. Additional locations include Dilworth and Packard Place, and at each you can be expected to be greeted by kind baristas serving teas, coffee (hot, iced, nitro), and seasonal beverages.

Multiple Locations 

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Undercurrent

The first craft coffee shop in Plaza Midwood, locals Todd and Erin Huber opened Undercurrent with hopes of embodying the community-driven aspect of shops they’ve frequented across the country. Couches and cozy chairs greet guests as they walk in the doors. The renovated space is complete with bar seating, a community table and comfortable bench seating, creating a welcoming environment for those in the neighborhood and beyond.

Undercurrent’s second location in Optimist Hall serves the same quality crafted drinks like their pour overs, golden milk lattes, and seasonal recipes like sparkling basil lemonade and honey lavender matcha. 

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Plaza Midwood
2012 Commonwealth Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Optimist Hall
1115 N. Brevard St. Stall #7
Charlotte, NC 28206

Hex Coffee/Stable Hand

What began as a dream to create community through coffee has come to fruition at both Camp North End and in South End. Hex Coffee features its own locally roasted beans at both locations, with a retail section perfect for take-home brews, including expertly crafted instant coffee. Stable Hand in South End doubles as a wine and beer bar, featuring natural wines and craft beer both on draft and to-go. With a small food menu and bakery items, Stable Hand provides the community owners John Michael Cord and Tanner Morita hoped for, in a space artfully designed with abstract murals, bench-style seating and an outdoor space.

At Camp North End you can find the roastery, what they describe as their “humble manufactory for beautiful coffee.” Doors open to Camp North End’s Boileryard District, where guests can engage in educational opportunities, enjoy coffee in the open-air establishment or grab a cup and take a walk around the campus. Coffee is available on their website for shipping across the country.

Camp North End
1824 Statesville Ave. 101
Charlotte, N.Carolina 28206

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Stable Hand Southend
125 Remount Rd suite B
Charlotte, NC 28203

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Smelly Cat

Discussing coffee in Charlotte would not be complete without a mention of NoDa’s long-standing Smelly Cat Coffee House & Roastery. Falling in line with the ‘90’s coffee vibe (the name being a nod to Friends and Phoebe Buffay’s performances of the shop’s namesake at fictional Central Perk), Smelly Cat has been around since 1999 on 36th Street. Indoor seating and a patio wrapping around the building make for an adequate and intimate space for both loyal customers and newcomers. This place keeps the community thriving and is a mainstay of not only the coffee community but NoDa’s ever-changing landscape. 

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Smelly Cat
514 E. 36th St.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Enderly Coffee Company

It was with community in mind that Becky and Tony Santoro opened Enderly Coffee on Tuckaseegee Road. Enderly strives to not only serve good coffee but to do good in their community. The company’s core values— people, generosity, relationships, quality—are lived out in their Enderly Park location, from which the company derives its name. Longtime Enderly park residents, the Santoros began Enderly Coffee in 2012 as coffee roasters, delivering beans to area businesses, with retail in various locations like Rhino Market, Common Market, EastSide Local and more. Upon opening as brick-and-mortar, Enderly has become a community center set on welcoming Enderly residents of all walks of life, especially in light of the changing and quickly gentrifying neighborhood demographic. Enderly hosts pop ups (like those with Shelves Bookstore) in its local-art-heavy shop, has a subscription coffee program and strives daily to live out the motto of “People first, coffee always.”

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Enderly Coffee
2620 Tuckaseegee Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28208

 

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Summit Coffee Co.

A Charlotte-area mainstay, Summit Coffee opened its Basecamp location in Davidson in 1998 and, over the last few years, has expanded to include several more locations. Summit now serves Davidson, Birkdale, the Triangle area, and soon-to-be South Park and Plaza Hills in Charlotte. The team has goals to open nearly 50 locations in the next few years, taking the region by storm with ethically sourced and mindfully cultivated products from lattes to drip coffee, creating a feeling of community. Serving its own locally roasted beans, each shop has its own vibe, with specially designed tilework to accent coffee counters and unique design elements specific to individual locales and local franchise owners.

Multiple locations

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The Hobbyist

In the somewhat newly renovated storefronts along North Davidson Street between 24th and 25th Streets in Villa Heights, The Hobbyist is home to a day-to-night vibe, with a long bar perfect for work days filled with coffee, snacks and tea, with an easy transition to wine and beer at night. A cooler filled with treats like pre-packaged charcuterie makes it easy to stay all day and chat with a welcoming staff who all seem set on connecting with customers and keeping them coming back regularly. Garage doors open to a patio, allowing for indoor/outdoor seating with a display of plants for purchase and a market-style selection of wine and beer. The Hobbyist is a great addition to Charlotte’s coffee world, and its diverse staff is something Barista Coalition and Hello, Love…’s LaChrista McArthur says makes it easy for people of color to feel they can be a part of the coffee community as both customers and purveyors.

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The Hobbyist
2100 N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC 28205

 

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Queen City Grounds

Queen City Grounds’ first location in Fourth Ward serves in-house roasted small batch Nightflyer Roastworks coffee alongside an extensive food menu, which includes plenty of vegan options for lunch and breakfast, with grab-and-go options at their Morehead Street location. The second-story loft overlooks the first floor in their industrial-meets-bright location. Queen City Grounds is great for your remote work days, coffee dates or meals with friends in a cozy location with midcentury furniture pieces, cafe tables and a local retail section featuring Charlotte-based zero-waste Good Earth Essentials, as well as plenty of Queen City Grounds branded gear. Seasonal menus keep it exciting along with classics like black coffee and drinks featuring house-made syrups.

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Fourth Ward
644 N. Church St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Broadstone / Southend
101 W. Morehead St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Salud Cerveceria

What was once a brainchild of Lindsay Pittman and Salud Beer Shop owner, Jason Glunt, Salud’s coffee program originated as a location for Trade & Lore, after it closed in The Evening Muse. Eventually, Pittman moved on, and Glunt and his wife, Dairelyn, kept the space going, continuing to serve specialty coffees from the space above the beer shop. Salud’s coffee shares a location with their Cerveceria, the space itself earning Architectural Digest’s 2019 award for “Most Beautiful Coffee Shop in North Carolina.” Hanging plants are illuminated by skylights, with nooks and crannies for lounge seating. The shop also has bar tops and large wooden tables ideal for work or grabbing coffee with friends. 

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Salud Cerveceria
3306-C N. Davidson St.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Night Swim Coffee

With plans for a fall opening, Night Swim is a partnership between Not Just Coffee and Undercurrent that will soon serve both the LoSo and Oakhurst communities, as well as two Uptown locations. After their meeting in 2016 at Atlanta’s Speciality Coffee Expo, the Hubers of Undercurrent with Miracle and James Yoder of Not Just Coffee formed a friendship that would evolve into a partnership set on delivering sustainable coffee utilizing each of the founding partners’ specialties. Erin Huber, with the help of James and Miracle’s daughter Destiny, took on the design elements, while Miracle– after a 2019 coffee-centric trip to her birth country of Mexico– brought the dream of roasting her own beans. The company has plans to make its coffee available nationwide through online ordering, wholesale, and subscription programs.

Oakhurst
1630 Oakhurst Commons Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28205

Bank of America Tower
620 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202

Lower South End 
4500 Old Pineville Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28217

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