Starbucks Read House - 827 Broad St., (423) 643-1248, starbucks.com, Mon - Th, 6 am - 9 pm; Fri, 6 am - 9:30 pm; Sat, 7 am - 9:30 pm; Sun, 7 am - 9 pm
Named after Stroud Watson, the city planner who developed The Chattanoogan (a fine hotel that is bothersome only for its ownership), Stroud’s is a quick stop for coffee for anyone downtown south of Broad Street. Many of the neighboring TVA employees file into the small shop to take advantage of the different sandwiches and paninis made with Boar’s Head meat. The friendly staff greets you when you walk through the door, prepared to answer any questions you have about the menu. With 11 years at their corner location, Stroud’s knows how to take care of their customers, locals and out-of-towners alike. The small cafe is carpeted to complement the coziness of the golds, greens and browns of its surroundings with a bar and stools facing the street. Two tall and narrow old-school coolers stand to the left of the entrance where you can grab a soft drink and enjoy the change from a busy work day. Stroud’s serves local Royal Cup coffee and you’re free to refill your own mug. In the morning, enjoy a plump, freshly baked muffin, fresh fruit or an organic granola parfait. For lunch, try a salad or a fresh soup. An alternative hotel coffeehouse/shop is a very good thing. We love the historic Read House, but The Chattanooga must keep the Sheraton on its toes.
Stroud’s - 1201 Broad St., (423) 424-3770, thechattanoogan.com, M - F, 8:30 am - 3 pm
Located in the heart of the Bluff View Art District, Rembrandt’s is appropriately named and the quintessential definition of quaint. It is the face of art district, as one employee of the coffee house said during our visit. Known for its pastries, Rembrandt’s is a pageant considering its partnership with the Chocolate Kitchen, a chocolatier in its third generation of ownership also located in the art district. From the exterior, the popular coffeehouse looks like something you might see in “Les Miserables,” complete with a wrought-iron gate, railings and vine arbors. The French-inspired architecture adds a homey, cozy feel inside, complete with a Western European vibe while arthouse jazz accompanies an aroma of the good stuff—coffee beans. As a seemingly slow-paced house, the space is great for reading, conversation and meetings.
Rembrandt’s - 204 High St., (423) 265-5033, bluffviewartdistrict.com, M - Th, 7 am - 10 pm; Fri, 7 am - 11:30 pm, Sat 8 am - 11:30 pm; Sun, 8 am - 10 pm
Also known as Coffee Crafters Toast Café, Toast is located on the corner of Vine and Lindsay Streets in the former Chad’s Records (which is just a few doors down), so it might seem natural that its usual customers at would be UTC students taking a break from the dorms only a short walk away. However, the audience for the artful coffee creations is broad and welcomes connoisseurs and coffee lovers of all ages. Owner Kent Baumhover is a Delta flight attendant (hence the aircraft in the logo) who routinely travels to Europe and Toast is inspired by his travels. “Spending time in cafes around Europe really gave me a love not only for coffee itself, but the culture and community that cafes bring together,” he told The Pulse in a 2011 profile. Windows span a good portion of the storefront providing natural light to complement the relaxed vibe of the coffee house. Studio lights hang from the ceiling, highlighting the quirky art on the walls, adding to the gallery-like feel. Coffee is certainly personal here, and while basic options are available, those seeking a little kick in their morning cup can “craft” their own latte using the many syrup flavors available. Even the names of breakfast sandwiches reflect the positive atmosphere, with titles like The Sunshiner and Katie’s Power Breakfast. Open at 7 a.m., Toast is the perfect place to begin your day with a smile.