5 must-try Alabama coffee shops

5 must-try Alabama coffee shops
Alabama is percolating with an abundance of great coffee shops. Here are five you should make it a point to try. (Getty Images)

No matter where you are in Alabama, you’re likely to find a local coffee shop brewing a delicious cup of joe. There are so many great places across the state, it’s hard to narrow the list down to 50, much less five.

We wanted to include so many places that didn’t make this list. The Spot in Fort Payne serves as a meet-up spot for people in the up-and-coming downtown area. There’s The Stable in Greensboro that attracts people from all over. And we always have a great time in both of Birmingham’s Red Cat Coffee House locations. We encourage y’all to try all the local Alabama coffee shops you can; they deserve the love.

But, alas, we did have to narrow it down, because you can have too much coffee, after all. Here are five places across Alabama that you need to visit while in town.


Rivertown Coffee

117 N. Seminary St., Florence

Rivertown Coffee is a fixture in downtown Florence. (Rebecca Walker Benjamin)

Two decades ago, downtown Florence wasn’t the thriving, celebrated area it is now. Sure, it had some successful businesses, but most people still traveled to other parts of town to shop, eat and run errands.

Enter Rivertown. The coffee shop opened in late 2004 and was one of the businesses that greatly contributed to the downtown resurgence. The shop’s homey atmosphere and embrace of the Shoals’ art and music scene helped make it a favorite among locals.

Rivertown doesn’t just have a cozy groove and great coffee; it also has wonderful food. For breakfast, you’ll find a variety of dishes, from a black bean breakfast wrap to pimento cheese and bacon. On the lunch menu, there are plenty of paninis and wraps, and many of them take advantage of locally sourced food. And don’t discount Rivertown for dinner – they make some out-of-this-world burritos that you can pair with craft beer.


Southern Shores Coffee

229 E. 20th Ave. #13, Gulf Shores

Even when you’re at the beach, you need good coffee. After all, the coffee machines in hotel rooms don’t make the freshest cups of java. Luckily for us, there’s Southern Shores Coffee. The Gulf Shores shop (there’s now a location in nearby Foley as well) fits in perfectly in the beach town: It’s laid back and super charming.

The shop offers several types of roast coffees to please all types of customers, and people from all over rave about the Cuban latte – it should definitely be on your radar.

But we can’t talk about Southern Shores without mentioning the bushwacker blend. The coffee tastes a lot like the area’s signature frozen cocktail, and you can order it as a frappe or cold brew as well as hot. People love the bushwacker blend so much that they order it from Southern Shores’ website and have it shipped all over the country.


Gato and Beans

4348 3rd Court S., Birmingham

We could fill this list with Birmingham coffee joints alone. The Magic City is loaded with comfy coffee shops that are sure to make you feel at home. But Gato and Beans has something a little extra: lots of cats.

That’s because Gato and Beans is a cat café, and was the first of its kind in Alabama when it opened in 2019. The building, located in the Avondale community, is divided into two parts: A cat room and coffeehouse. The coffeehouse is where you order a tasty, smooth cup of joe, and the cat room is filled with lots of felines who are available for adoption.

If you’re interested in stopping by the cat house, they recommend making a reservation – there’s limited space and it’s a popular destination. And if you just need a pick-me-up after a bad day, check out photos of all the felines who found their forever homes at Gato and Beans.


Dark Side

2007 Memorial Parkway NW., Huntsville

Jaray Wilson, left, and Devyn Keith own Dark Side in Huntsville. (Lee Roop)

Dark Side is the newest coffee shop on this list – it opened in November 2020. But in the short time it has been open, it’s already made a buzz in the quickly growing Rocket City. That’s partly because of its location. While many new coffee shops have sprung up in other areas of the city in the past few years, Dark Side opened in north Huntsville, an area that hasn’t seen the rapid development that other parts of the city have experienced.

Since it’s opened, Dark Side has been a hub for the community. Co-owner Jaray Wilson told AL.com, “You see people come in, everything from suits to sweats. Some people are going to just grab a quick coffee and they end up staying 30, 40 minutes.”

And we haven’t even talked about the coffee or food yet. The coffee is sourced from Cameroon. You’ll want to try one of their house specials (we recommend the dark.ccino) and one of their kicked-up grilled cheeses. If you’re really hungry and feeling adventurous, go for the Keith sandwich, which has gouda and muenster cheeses and a blueberry drizzle.


Serda’s Coffee Co.
3 S. Royal St., Mobile

We love a downtown coffee shop. And Serda’s Coffee Co. is the perfect coffee stop for the Azalea City.

Serda’s opened in 2008 in a cool, historic building and it has a little something for everyone. There are, of course, plenty of coffee options (the frozen cappuccino is always a hit), and you’d be remiss if you didn’t check out the seasonal drinks they have available. The food menu is spectacular, with bagels, muffins and more available for breakfast, and wraps and paninis the rest of the day. There are dozens of gelato and smoothie options. (And if you have a dog or two, don’t forget to pick up a puppaccino for them.)

Serda’s is worth a visit for the food and drinks alone, but it also has a fun, comfortable feel inside that’s ideal for meeting up with friends, working remotely or catching up on some studying. It’s easy to forget that right outside is the hustle and bustle on the streets of one of Alabama’s largest cities.

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