Where Do I Get Coffee in Birmingham?

Finding a new favorite coffee shop isn’t always easy — do they carry your favorite drink? Can you sit for hours lingering over conversation or a book, or does limited space mean you need to keep moving? Do they have outlets? Wifi? Food? Parking?

It’s even tougher now, because the pandemic changed the coffee shop landscape. Some of our favorites (Urban Standard, Crestwood Coffee, Woodlawn Cycle Cafe) aren’t around anymore, and the hours and offerings of our old favorites have changed, too.

That’s why my team and I put together the Localist Guide to Coffee in Birmingham. We talked to over 30 independent coffee shops in the Birmingham area. Here’s some of what you’ll find:

  • Best places to study
  • Vegetarian/Vegan options
  • Syrup flavors and specialty drinks
  • Parking options

To get the guide, just sign up here, and the guide will be waiting in your inbox (or, you know, your spam folder, so you might have to check there).

This all began when I was visiting a couple of new coffee shops (June Coffee and Domestique Dawn Patrol had just opened, and they’d both been guests on the Localist podcast). I asked on Instagram what people wanted to know about coffee shops, and I had a massive response — the biggest I’ve ever had from a question. I couldn’t find answers to everything myself, so I sent a Google Form to the shops … and the rest is history. (You know, the must-requested history of the Localist PDF.)

Here are my favorite parts of the guide:

Icons help you find what you’re looking for — fast

If you want a place to study or work, just scroll through and look for the yellow “Study” icons — those are the places that have plenty of seats, outlets and wifi. (We even asked those shops if they mind if you hang out for a few hours.)

Looking for the perfect macchiato? Scan for the green “Latte Art” icons. Want to know if you’ll find a lot of speciality drinks, syrups or sugar-free syrups? Check the blue “Syrups” icon. My personal favorite? The brown “Parking” icon, which indicates that you’ll be able to easily find a parking spot without feeding a meter.

Get specifics about milks and syrups

Before you go, you’ll probably want to know if the shop can make your favorite, whether that’s a cortado or an oat milk latte or a sugar-free white mocha with almond milk. We asked shops to self-report on which milks they carry and which syrups they have (and whether or not they’re made in-house or not). We also asked about cold brew and nitro, whether they offer pour over, Chemex or French Press coffee in addition to drip, and whether or not they keep decaf espresso available all the time.

Quickly link to each shop’s Insta or address

Want to head over to a new shop right away? You won’t even have to type it into Google — there’s a link at the top of each shop page that opens its location in Google Maps. And because we all know that, in these late pandemic times, nothing goes as planned, we’ve included a link to each shop’s Instagram so you can click over and get an up-to-the-minute report of what they’re serving and when they’re open.

How to Share the Guide

I hope this is something you’ll want to share with others! To do that, you can share the post on my Instagram (I’m @crollwagen), or just give out this URL: tinyurl.com/bhamcoffeeshop. Please don’t share the PDF directly — my team and I worked hard on this to grow our email list, so we’d love it if you’d ask anyone interested to go ahead and sign up for the list if they want the download. (Of course, they can unsubscribe at any time, and they’ll still have it!)

My hope is that you’ll find this guide really useful, and that you’ll discover a few more great local businesses that you might not have stumbled on without it.

How to Use the Guide

The downloadable PDF can be printed, but I recommend downloading it to your phone so it’s easy to access when you’re on the go. Here’s how to do that (I have an iPhone, so I can’t check Android — sorry!):

iPhone Instructions

To download the PDF on iPhone:

  • Select the PDF (open your email first to find it)
  • Click the share icon (a box with an arrow pointing up)
  • Select “Save to Files” and choose a folder to put it in (probably “Downloads”)

Find the PDF on your iPhone: the shortcut

  • Swipe left from your Home screen to bring up search, then type “Localist Coffee” in the field — you’ll be able to choose the PDF immediately.

Find the PDF on your iPhone: the long way:

  • Navigate to the Files App (if you can’t find it, swipe left from the Home screen and type “files” into search)
  • Open folder where you sent the PDF (probably “Downloads”)
  • Open the PDF!

Android Instructions

Download the PDF on Android:

  • Select the PDF (open your email first to find it)
  • Click the download button at the bottom of the email (it’s a downward arrow with a line underneath)
  • The guide will save in your “Downloads” section

Find the PDF on your Android:

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the App drawer
  • Tap “My Files” (the File Manager)
  • Tap “Downloads”
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