A warm cup of dark coffee. Patrons at tables chatting, reading, and typing away at their laptops. The smell of bakery goods and ground coffee beans wafting through the air. The excitement of claiming the worn-out, comfy chairs near the window.
I am all about the coffee house experience. Some of my best memories are at coffee houses with my friends or engrossed in a good book. Both of my thesis papers were largely written and researched in coffee houses. There is not much that beats an afternoon spent at an independent coffee shop. The only thing better than a coffee shop is a coffee shop on the coast.
I lived in Monterey for eight years. During that time, I explored all of the coffee shops to identify the best ones on the peninsula. Sadly, many of my all-time favorite haunts are no longer in business (RIP Coffee Bar), but there are still so many wonderful independent shops! Put these coffee shops on your itinerary the next time you visit Monterey.
Good coffee, indoor/outdoor seating, limited power outlets, WIFI
Coffee Bar is a staple of Monterey. Located off the beaten track in Marina, this local favorite has some of the best ambiance around. Run by Horace, you are always greeted with a hearty greeting and an excellent cup of coffee.
Are you a fan of sweet Italian roast coffee? It is my dad’s favorite. Sadly, it’s hard to find. As you can imagine, he was ecstatic when he discovered that Coffee Shop offered sweet Italian roast. Whenever he would visit, we could have a coffee morning at Coffee Bar with our pour-over sweet Italian roast coffee.
But coffee is only half of it. Horace provides a full menu of pastries from a local Parisian bakery, soups, sandwiches, salads. If you are there just for a morning coffee or a full lunch meal, Coffee Bar has you covered.
Good coffee, indoor/outdoor seating, power outlets, WIFI
SADLY, CAFE LUMIERE BECAME ANOTHER CASULTY OF THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC. THIS WONDERFUL COFFEE SHOP CLOSED ITS DOORS ON NOVEMBER 8, 2020.
This is easily one of the most unique coffee shops. Settled in the heart of downtown Monterey, Cafe Lumiere is attached to the Osio Theater, a small, independent movie theater. When you walk inside, you are hit with the smell of coffee, pastries, and buttered popcorn. Cafe Lumiere has wonderful seating and power options, a boon for college students. If the lower-level is filled, you can sit in their loft or on their shaded patio.
In the mood for a beer? Lumiere has a decent selection of alcohol to pair with delicious pastries, sandwiches, and salads.
Plumes Coffee & Tea
Good coffee, indoor seating, limited power outlets, WIFI
Plumes is an adorable corner coffee shop in downtown Monterey. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to score a seat in their box window, giving your easy access to power outlets and a view outside.
Plumes offers a wide variety of drinks and food, from coffee and tea to smoothies and boba. Their food selection has expanded in recent years beyond your typical pastries and fruit to include sandwiches and paninis.
Plumes is a local favorite, so it isn’t unusual for seating to fill up quickly.
East Village Coffee Lounge
Good coffee, fun ambiance, indoor/outdoor seating, power outlets, WIFI
East Village is a really fun coffee shop located in old Monterey above Fisherman’s Warf. This corner coffee shop is hard to miss with its stone facade and pink sign. East Village is a bit darker inside than the other coffee shops on this list, making it ideal for working on laptops.
East Village offers a great selection of seating, from tables to couches and overstuffed chairs. Unlike most coffee shops, East Village veers away from a single, open-floor plan. Instead, it is divided up into several rooms. The main room, where you order your food and drink, features a fireplace. I love going to East Village on a foggy or rainy day and curling up in front of the fireplace with a hot drink and a book.
Many local bands and musicians play in the evenings at East Village. Some of the talent is better than others, but it always makes for a fun night.
When you visit Monterey, I’m sure you’ll go to the beach, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Fisherman’s Warf. Just don’t forget to schedule a few coffee shop hours to recharge.