The Mean Mug
If you’re looking for Central Perk, the fictional coffeehouse/clubhouse of the “Friends” cast, in Chattanooga, head for The Mean Mug. The Mug is the city’s newest coffeehouse and the latest venture of Matt Lewis and Monica Smith (who also operate The Honest Pint, Terminal Brewhouse and Hair of the Dog—all local institutions). Located in a rustic Southside building next to the emerging Enzo’s Market, the Mug is casual, cool and quiet, featuring a coffee bar, tables and a relaxed den-like couch area in the back, all in a bright space darkened by wood floors, brick walls and high ceilings. Another favorite Pulse hangout, the glow of Macbooks and the strains of light, personal conversation and soft music provide the ambience. The coffee shares a starring role with a changing array of breakfast items—handmade pastries and cakes by Monica Smith and staff—and artisanal sandwiches and soups along with daily specials. Bring your laptop or page through the selection of magazines and books; or bring your friends for a cup of java. Plenty of parking on street or behind the building makes for easy access.
The Mean Mug - 114 W. Main St., (423) 825-4206, meanmugcoffee.com, Mon - Sat, 7 am - 5 pm
Pasha Coffee & Tea
The eclectic neighborhood of historic St. Elmo might be the last thing you’d expect to find at the bottom of a mountain, yet that’s precisely why Pasha fits in so well. Unique scents of coffee and curry mix together, welcoming wandering locals into the warm, open space. Pasha’s charm is drawn from the strings of lights, local art, and reading or having a coffee date at the bar tables seems a little more exotic, bringing a subtle Middle Eastern flair to East Tennessee. Coffee is served in handcrafted mugs begging to be Instagramed. Breakfast is served all day, and if you’re feeling courageous, try the “Slumdog” scrambled egg and curry sandwich. Leather couches and plush armchairs invite you to take your coat off and stay awhile, which is now possible, because Pasha is open till 9 p.m. They host weekly “neighborhood-oriented” activities, such as poetry readings and live music nights. If you want to meet with hip artists, vinyl record collectors or literature buffs, Pasha should be your new usual spot. Small gravel lot and some street parking, so plan to car-pool with friends.
Pasha Coffee & Tea - 3914 St. Elmo Ave., (423) 475-5482, pashacoffeehouse.com, Mon - Fri, 7 am - 9 pm; Sat, 8 am - 9 pm