Top Coffee Houses In Denver

August 23, 2011 1:26 AM

Barista Kate Barmettler prepares a latte for a customer at Stella’s (credit: CBS)

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Paris on the Platte (credit: Young Kim)

If you were a fan of “Friends” … heck if you even watched it once, you know Central Perk. The neighborhood coffee house was the gathering place for the characters of the show. So iconic was this fictional java joint that the set remains a fixture on the Warner Brothers tour and, according to the studio, is scheduled to be a featured exhibit at the Smithsonian. With that in mind, if you’re looking to support great, independent coffee houses here in Denver, here are a few suggestions for you.
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St. Mark's Coffeehouse (credit: Young Kim)

St. Mark’s Coffeehouse

2019 E 17th Ave
(303) 322-8384
Denver, CO 80206-1105

With its huge windows, natural light and bustling vibe, St. Mark’s is what a great independent coffee house should be. Its baristas pull perfect espresso shots, whip up decadent drinks and if you’re hungry they offer a great section of hot and cold paninis.There isn’t anything corporate here. The artwork you’ll see on the wall is from local artists, and if you like what you see their work is often for sale. In addition to the great joe, different nights have different offerings including an open mic night, movie nights and even a Bible Study on Tuesdays. The Ubisububi Room, located below St. Mark’s, offers an intimate setting (it only holds 45 people) making it an ideal spot for acoustic musicians and those who enjoy their work.

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Paris on the Platte (credit: Young Kim)

Paris on the Platte

1553 Platte Street
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 455-2451

Paris on the Platte is a local company with local roots. In addition to its bar, music and food, River Roasters is located inside the Paris Café and Bar. These are some of the finest beans in town. They’re roasted in small batches at lower temperatures, which they suggest produces a flavor that’s cleaner and richer. Beans are roasted every Monday, so if you stop in, you can smell the rich aroma and see the process. If you’re with friends, they offer something a little different here. You can order some of their coffee options, including mochas and lattes in various sizes, including a pitcher.

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Pablo's (credit: CBS)

Pablo’s Coffee

630 E 6th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203-3806
(303) 744-3323

Pablo’s describes itself as a worldwide chain of one where the world of global agriculture and the neighborhood corner store meet. They’ve been roasting coffee out of their small shop for the last dozen years and are now providing beans to some of the top award winning coffee shops and restaurants here in Denver. There’s a lot to try, but if you’ve never been, start with the “Two Stroke Smoke” or the “Danger Monkey.”

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Barista Kate Barmettler prepares a latte for a customer at Stella's (credit: CBS)

Stella’s Gourmet Coffee and Such

1476 S. Pearl Street
Denver, CO 80223-3920
(303) 777-1031

South Pearl is home to one of Denver’s most unique independent coffee houses — Stella’s. Since its birth in 1991, Stella’s has won numerous local awards and serves great espresso roasted locally by Pablo’s Coffeehouse mentioned above. We love the interior filled with nooks and crannies that provide great spaces to spend time with friends. Stella’s has a tradition of showcasing both emerging and professional artists from around the world, varying in style and changes every six weeks or so. They believe that everyone should own original art, and they display works at extremely competitive price points making art affordable for everyone.

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University Groundz (credit: Young Kim)

University Groundz

2423 S. University Blvd
(720) 287-2083
Denver, CO 80210

A relative newcomer to Denver’s coffee house scene, University Groundz offers a full service coffee bar, plenty of seating and free 40mb Wi-Fi near the DU campus. They serve NOVO coffee here, a Denver based wholesaler that maintains sustainable business practices on social, economic and environmental levels. University Groundz roasts their coffee with the idea that coffees have rich yet subtle flavor differences often as nuanced as the differences you find in the fine wine industry.

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Trident (credit: Lorne Eric Fultonberg)

Trident Booksellers and Café

940 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 443-3133

The Trident Café serves standard European coffee house drinks and pastries and a large selection of loose-leaf teas. I’ve heard someone once joked that the IQ epicenter of Boulder is here, not the university. Now I can’t speak for that, but the regulars here are a more literary set. That’s not to be confused with stuffy or pretentious, though. With some of the speediest, most assured baristas in Boulder, Trident offers a great cup of joe in an atmosphere perfect for working or visiting with friends.

– Written by Scott Smith for