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Not Just Coffee | © James Willamor/Flickr
Not Just Coffee | © James Willamor/Flickr | | © James Willamor/Flickr
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The Best Cafes and Coffee Shops in Charlotte, North Carolina

Picture of Shawndra Russell
Updated: 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, $$$
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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.
More Info
Sun:
7:00 am - 8:00 pm
Mon - Thu:
7:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri - Sat:
7:00 am - 12:00 am

Meal service:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Modern, Stylish, Romantic, Gourmet

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse

Cafe, $$$
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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.

Good morning! 🌇

A post shared by Smelly Cat Coffeehouse (@smellycatcoffee) on

More Info
Sun:
6:30 am - 8:00 pm
Mon - Tue:
6:00 am - 3:00 pm
Wed - Thu:
6:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
6:30 am - 10:00 pm

Meal service:

Takeaway, Breakfast, All Day

Atmosphere:

Fast Casual, Casual, Cosy, Relaxed

Rush Espresso

Cafe, Wine Bar, Charcuterie, Cheesemonger, Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, $$$
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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.

So simple yet so so complex! Not just any coffee! #abbotsfordroadcoffee #cltcoffee

A post shared by Rush espresso (@rushespresso) on

More Info
Sun - Tue:
6:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
6:00 am - 12:00 am
Thu:
6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat - Sun:
6:00 am - 12:00 am

Meal service:

Takeaway, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Atmosphere:

Gourmet, Modern, Casual, Stylish, Outdoors

Not Just Coffee

Cafe, Tea Room, Healthy, $$$
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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.

Tis the season!

A post shared by notjustcoffee (@notjustcoffee) on

More Info
Sun - Sat:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Meal service:

Takeaway, Breakfast, All Day

Atmosphere:

Fast Casual, Casual, Relaxed, Modern

Dilworth Coffee

Cafe, $$$
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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.
More Info
Mon - Fri:
7:00 am - 6:00 pm

Meal service:

Takeaway, All Day

Atmosphere:

Fast Casual, Casual, Relaxed