The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Local coffee shops shine

I savor my grande triple extra-dry skinny vanilla latte in a red holiday cup just as much as the next guy, but let’s be honest: Starbucks is The Man.

Meanwhile, local businesses are struggling to keep their little heads above murky corporate waters. The recently closed Gachet had good tea, good music and good-looking baristas. It had free movie nights on the rooftop with views of the downtown skyline.

Granted, I’d never seen Gachet packed – at least, not like Starbucks is between 7:30 and 9:30 each morning – so I’m not surprised that it became a coffee casualty of the economic downturn. And while I can’t do anything to resurrect Gachet, I can do my part to make sure no more Dallas coffeehouses get flushed down The Man’s toilet.

These places, unlike the outposts of that Seattle-based coffee conglomerate, offer – in addition to free Wi-Fi – a unique identity and atmosphere as well as delicious coffee and espresso.

I go to Drip on Lovers Lane to buy the coffee I brew at home. The baristas know their customers as well as they know their beans, and they will educate you in a matter of minutes. I love the Tanzanian Peaberry blend because it’s bold, but not too bold.

All their coffee is roasted by hand in small batches; needless to say, it’s probably the freshest you can get – and walking inside is like a trip to a Costa Rican coffee plantation. They have lattes and cappuccinos too, but only at Drip do I consistently keep it simple.

At The Pearl Cup, which opened less than a year ago, I get the Pearl Latte. I keep trying to guess the secret ingredient, but I can’t. It has a quaint patio and features local artwork, plus they sometimes showcase singer/songwriters and host open mic nights.

To satiate a sweet tooth, there are moist and chewy black-and-white cookies from New York – where the owners are from – and the Polenta Cookie, which is made by a local baker who sells his treats at the Farmer’s Market downtown. Both maintain their shape when dunked into the bowl-like cappuccino mug filled to the brim with frothy goodness.

I go to Legal Grounds in Lakewood when I’m feeling bookish or if I really need to study, partly because the atmosphere puts me in focus and partly because I know no one will bother me.

Its muted interior resembles a law office, and the clientele – which consists of an older, post-college demographic – keep to themselves. I go when I’m hungry for pancakes too. They are insanely tasty.

I’ve been late to discover the quintessential community coffeehouse that is Opening Bell: board games, wooden tables, vintage vinyls, acoustic guitars and quiet chatter decorate the sounds and scenery of the coziest basement in Dallas.

Located beneath the South Side on Lamar Lofts, Opening Bell has a distinct underground coffee culture that is perpetually inviting but rare to find.

This area is quiet and historic during the day, a drastic change from the vibe it emits when you’re next door for a concert at the Palladium at night. The table at the entrance is covered with roommate-wanted ads, concert flyers and odd business cards (psychics, masseuses, private investigators).

As for the drinks, I had the best soy chai latte I’ve ever had; the house blend is both strong and smooth. The baristas are friendly, and when you buy ten coffees you get one free. There’s no punch card; they just add your name to the system so they’ll remember you next time. I love that.

It’s a good feeling to know the barista will put a face to the name – instead of a name on a disposable paper cup.

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