The Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in Charlotte, North Carolina

Not Just Coffee | © James Willamor/Flickr
Not Just Coffee | © James Willamor/Flickr | | © James Willamor/Flickr
Photo of Shawndra Russell
1 February 2018

Coffee in Charlotte is a big deal, which you might expect for the second-largest financial center in America behind New York City. And like NYC, Charlotte doesn’t sleep, so a high volume of quality coffee shops and cafes occupy the city. Whether you need to pick up a quick cup to go, want to sit down and relax for a few hours, or plan to pair your coffee with some fresh-made pastries, the Queen City has a coffee experience for you. Keep reading to discover the best cafes and coffee shops in Charlotte.

Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe

Bakery, Cafe, French, Dessert, Pastries, Soup, $$$
Map View

Perhaps the most beautiful coffee shop in Charlotte, Amelie’s has luxe chandeliers and an old-world mansion vibe that has caught the Queen City by storm – they’re 50,000-fans-strong on Facebook. The menu includes French cafe classics such as croissants, quiches and macaroons, plus seasonal bouchee, tartines and baguettes with jam, butter, or spreadable cheese.

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse

Cafe, Coffee, Tea
Map View

For a more industrial atmosphere, head to the home of NoDa Roasters, Smelly Cat Coffehouse. Worn red brick walls, exposed piping and checked red-and-black flooring complete the look, but of course the star is the caffeine in the form of pour-overs, cold brews and espresso drinks. A small breakfast menu includes biscuits, burritos, quiches and casseroles on the cheap.

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Good morning! 🌇

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Rush Espresso

Cafe, Charcuterie, Cheesemonger, Cocktail Bar, Wine Bar, Contemporary, Coffee, Wine, 0

Some of the best coffee spots double as wine bars, and Charlotte’s version of this business mash-up is Rush Espresso. The chic farmhouse aesthetic – think wine crates and rustic metal bar chairs painted turquoise – makes this location a fun place to catch live music or take a salsa class, and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rush also operates two other locations in Charlotte, a grab-and-go coffee shop and a cafe in the business district.

Meal service:

Takeaway, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Gourmet, Modern, Casual, Stylish, Outdoors

Not Just Coffee

Cafe, Tea Room, Healthy, Coffee, Tea
Map View

With five Charlotte locations, Not Just Coffee attracts coffee nerds who appreciate that pouring an excellent cup of joe takes time. They also feature coffee experts for classes, hands-on brewing sessions, and cuppings. Pair your coffee of choice with fun toasts, such as fig and goat cheese or seasonal fruit and mascarpone.

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Tis the season!

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Dilworth Coffee

Cafe, $$$
Another spot that loves to geek out over nature’s energy boost, Dilworth Coffee hosts SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) classes and workshops for beginning, intermediate and advanced baristas. At-home coffee brewers aren’t left out as Dilworth provides brewing guides for several brewing methods on their website. With 50+ exclusive, single-origin, certified organic coffees available, pick up some bags to take home or you can order your favorite online.

Meal service:

Takeaway, All Day


Fast Casual, Casual, Relaxed

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