New Java Joints Perk Up Midtown

14 East Café

Indie is all the rage, whether it comes in the form of rock music or a place for hot, caffeinated drinks. In metro Detroit, the best cup of joe often can be found at independent coffeehouses, places decidedly different from chains that churn out drinks faster than you can say “non-fat cappuccino with skim and extra foam.” It’s no secret that Midtown is experiencing a boom. In addition to the real-estate revival, something fresh is percolating inside buildings with character: charming coffeehouses, owned and operated by neighborhood denizens. Here’s a brief jaunt through Midtown’s java joints.

Thistle Coffee House, 4445 Second: Opened in April by Brenda Jarvis, Thistle grinds its beans in-house. Organic fruits and vegan treats from the nearby Avalon Bakery are served on eco-friendly plates. Student art is displayed on the vibrant yellow and red walls. Doors are open until midnight on Fridays.

14 East Café, 14 E. Kirby, in The Park Shelton: This space, which includes a coffee bar, table seating, and a private meeting room, houses a gallery of exhibits by local artisans. The menu features specialty-brewed coffee, as well as tea, soda, and pastries from Madeleine’s Pâtisserie. When local interior designer Joanne Czerny opened the café in early June, she focused on stocking eco-friendly products.

Bottom Line Coffee House, 4474 Third in the Beethoven Apartments building: New this month is what co-owners Al and Pat Harris call their “off-the-beaten-path” brew boutique. Their son, Kyle, is the shop’s manager. Here, house coffees and fresh bread will be served on a bar made of salvaged Detroit wood. If TBL’s Hammerhead (coffee with three shots of espresso) doesn’t keep your head from hitting your desk, nothing will. “We’re trying to maximize our space and our time and give people a place to come and hang out and just enjoy the community,” Kyle says.

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