11 places to grab coffee downtown that are BETTER than Starbucks

Ever get tired of paying $6 for your favorite pick-me-up, only to be disappointed by sub-par flavors and uptight regulars?

Not to mention, the only downtown Starbucks worth visiting has shut down indefinitely.

If you’re like me, Starbucks’ Pike Place roast just isn’t that impressive.

And a regular brew at a local coffeehouse down the street probably costs half as much as that specialty drink we have to buy at Starbucks for any real taste.

But good news coffee lovers! Downtown Charleston is the home of many local affordable coffee shops with fantastic roasts and eclectic surroundings.

Expand your horizons, try something different and find your way to new, unique and local experiences and tastes.

In no particular order, here are 11 of the best Charleston cups of joe:

Caviar & Bananas

Located in the heart of College of Charleston’s campus, this local favorite allows you to grab your specialized coffee drink on your way to class or work.


City Lights Coffee

Ever wanted to have your very own “Central Perk?” This is the perfect hole-in-the-wall coffee shop where your coffee wish is their command and the heartwarming atmosphere keeps you coming back.


This extensive menu allows you to choose your own creation while playing chess and listening to local music inside this modern hot spot or outside in its elegant courtyard.


Black tap

All local brews and attractive baristas make this coffee haven a necessary stop on your way to wherever you’re headed downtown.


Tricera Coffee

Savor your coffee while saving your body from preservatives and artificial flavors at this all-natural café.

Oh! And if you’re running late, you can order your drink before you get there.


Myth Café

This brand new café combines Turkish influence and international vibes to create a perfect relaxation spot for coffee and pizza connoisseurs.


The Bearded Café

This hipster establishment serves extraordinary coffee creations for half the price of a Starbucks’ customized let-down.

I recommend “The Bearded Lady Cappuccino” that comes with a complimentary and delicious swirl of chocolate.


Freddo Helado

If your favorite Starbucks drink is a Frappuccino, this is a local and delicious alternative. Coffee beverages made with real gelato will get your day started sweet and right.


Pink Bellies

Prepare for an explosion of flavor with this pop up restaurant on St. Phillip Street, famous for their Vietnamese iced coffee.


The Rise Coffee Bar


Attached to the reputable Charleston Restoration hotel, this fancy coffee stop will make you feel like a pampered guest in your own city with their unique and reasonably priced brews and friendly staff.

Eclectic Cafe & Vinyl

Enjoy a hot cup of bliss while surrounded by an impressive vinyl collection that you can shop through or play out loud on the café’s turn tables.

Combine your appreciation for music with your love of java at this urban coffee spot.



by Bailey Laskowski

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