By Christina Sirtak
With Miami’s unending party stretching from the sand to Lincoln road, it’s easy to keep the good life going all night long. But occasionally even veteran partiers need an alternative to the club and bar scene. The next time you’d actually like to talk to your date, try one of Miami’s independent coffeehouses — the best of which are temples to comfort where you can sip a liquid remedy, enjoy a tasty nibble and linger in a cushy chair. These are places where loitering is encouraged, whether you’re chatting up a friend or alone working on your next novel.
Le Café aspires to a French art house café atmosphere. Upholstered chairs and settees create intimate seating in the corners and a large communal table is cluttered with coffee table art books. Original artwork on the walls is accompanied by classic jazz, with live music on Wednesday nights. The busy menu offers some café standbys, which you can wash down with Segafredo coffee, house wine or "Carlos’ sangria."
7295 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 305-754-6551
A La Folie
A La Folie feels like a Parisienne who has packed up her "je ne sais quoi" and moved to South Beach. With few indoor tables, the abundant outdoor seating is especially popular on weekends, when you can absorb the festive mood on Espanola. Folie’s menu covers French café classics such as sweet and savory crepes, croque-monsieur and salad nicoise. Better than average fare seems even more impressive after viewing the closet-sized kitchen, and troubles temporarily melt into a big steaming bowl of café au lait – or a glass (or two) of wine.
519 Espanola Way, Miami Beach; 305-538-4484
Out of the Blue
Urban pioneer Out of the Blue is an unexpected caffeine oasis just west of a gentrifying section of Biscayne Boulevard. It exudes a funky art house vibe fostered by walls covered with photo portraits of neighborhood residents taken by a local artist. Menu standouts include house made soups and a grass-fed beef sandwich, which you can enjoy inside or in their outdoor courtyard. And for those looking for a good stogie to go with their drink, Out of the Blue even has a humidor.
2426 NE 2nd Ave, Miami; 305-573-3800
Karma Car Wash & Café
Karma is the happy stepchild of a car wash and an Austin, Texas-style café, offering fresh Lavazza espresso, wine and beer. Food offerings consist of pastry items, several tapas selections and a selection of baguette sandwiches such as brie, walnut and honey; chorizo and blue cheese; or Serrano ham and manchego. An even more happy surprise is the four beers on tap, including Dogfish Head and Chimay. Plenty of outdoor seating and staff members who point out outlets for your laptop make the small café worth seeking out even if your car is spotless.
7010 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 305-759-1392
Books & Books
Books & Books has a reputation for its intellectual atmosphere and frequent author appearances, but their café should be on a bestseller list. More than a chain stores’ add-on, the café at Books & Books offers good food and a respectable selection of wine and beer that make it worth the stop even if you don’t need another book to add to your collection. Don’t miss pork tacos and live music on Friday nights in Coral Gables’ most charming courtyard. You just might find a good paperback, too.
265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables; 305-442-4408
This café and teahouse offers an unusual combination of organic kosher Asian-fusion fare, featuring house-made sushi and desserts and an impressive selection of whole leaf teas. The soothing modern interior, friendly staff and free wi-fi encourage you to linger over your pot of tea. If you need a stronger beverage to go with your sushi, Emunah welcomes you to bring your own vodka (or other kosher meshuval beverage), but after their kabbalah carrot cake with cream cheese mouse you may not even need it.
3558 North Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-561-6411
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