What’s Brewing in Downtown Phoenix: 5 Coffee Shops to Check Out Right Now

Madeline NguyenNovember 15, 2023
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Songbird Coffee & Tea House | Photo courtesy Intrinsic Imagery
Songbird Coffee & Tea House | Photo courtesy Intrinsic Imagery

Breakfast may soak up the spotlight as the most important meal of the day, but everyone — from bleary-eyed night owls to energetic early birds — knows the real star of breakfast is coffee. And nobody knows coffee better in the city than in Downtown Phoenix, which is more jam-packed with coffee shops than anywhere else in the Valley. Hit up these local spots to check out what’s brewing in Greater Phoenix’s coffee capital.

Hidden Track Café
Chase Tower may not be the Eiffel Tower, and Footprint Center is no Colosseum, but it’s not hard to get a taste of Europe in the heart of Downtown Phoenix. If don’t have time to fly the nearly 5,500 miles from Sky Harbor to the Champs-Élysées, order a cappuccino at Hidden Track and take a seat to people-watch at the café’s European-style outdoor patio — it’s almost the same, we promise. Inspired by the “hidden tracks” that musicians tuck away on albums for only the most die-hard fans, this café-bodega-wine bar hybrid prides itself on offering unique, hand-picked ingredients from around the globe — from Portuguese tinned fish to earthy Venetian cheese to honeyed orange wine. They all pair well with a steaming, caramel-colored cup of joe.
111 W. Monroe St., Phoenix, 602-566-7932, hiddentrackcafe.com

Songbird Coffee & Tea House
If many of the Downtown coffee shops are relative newcomers to the city, then Songbird is the wise grandmother of the neighborhood. This historic cottage café, which swung open its porch door in 2012 to sling cups for the neighborhood, has watched Downtown urbanize and come into its own over the last 11 years, growing pains and all. Sunbathe on its spring green porch swing or snuggle into an armchair by its brick fireplace — if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of InkyBob, the beloved café cat. Tea lovers need not despair; along with coffee, the café offers more than 25 loose-leaf tea blends, so everyone has something to sip.
812 N. Third St., Phoenix, 602-374-4192, songbirdcoffeehouse.com

dialog is new to the Downtown Phoenix coffee scene, but it’s certainly ignited the dialogue. The airy, multipurpose space offers a bit of something for everyone — from local art exhibits to gravity-defying modern furniture to a library of brick-sized coffee-table books — and its menu does, too. On the drink side, customers can order up a cloyingly sweet honey-vanilla coffee or a zingy grapefruit espresso tonic. The shop is all about generating buzz: Each drink cup features a QR code that customers can scan to join dialog’s secret dialogue by adding their answers to such contemplative questions as, “Tell us something you’re inspired by.”
1001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-760-6911, dialogphx.com

Central Records
The beat thumps through the air, so loud that the sound waves pulse through your bones. A spinning disco ball casts silvery slivers of light across your skin. A DJ throws their hands up in the air, limbs swinging to the rhythm in a wild expression of joy. No, you’re not at the best concert of your life. You’re at Central Records, the recently opened Downtown space that serves as a café, wine bar, record store, radio station and DJ venue. Inspired by Japan’s jazz kissas —designated jazz listening café-bars — Central Records aspires to give customers an experience that stimulates all their senses. The space does have the caffeine-hooked laptop warriors you typically see haunting cafés, but you’ll also see die-hard music enthusiasts leafing through boxes of records to find the perfect disco vinyl.
824 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-638-0433, @central.records

Xanadu Coffee Company
The craggy Arizona desert may be the closest you can get on this Earth to something like Mars, and Xanadu Coffee knows it. The café is reminiscent of all things space, complete with a galaxy-print accent wall and minimalist, moon-colored hanging lamps. But while the late-night café — which stays open until 9 p.m. daily — may look like a cozy living room from the future, the drinks, from a zingy matcha limeade to environmentally friendly coffee, are instant classics. And hold the tip at the barista bar — while the café does appreciate the sentiment, Xanadu is committed to paying its workers above minimum wage and builds their salaries into its prices.
625 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-283-4000, xanaducoffee.com