Best Old-School Coffee Shop 2023 | Pablo's Coffee on 6th | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Linnea Covington

When Pablo's opened in 2001, coffee shops were primarily places to meet for a cup of joe and conversation, hang out with friends for hours, or even read a book in public (yes, we're talking about pre-wi-fi days). Now, over two decades later, Denver's first craft coffee roaster is still in its nook on the corner of Sixth and Washington. Although it has expanded, moving its roasting facility and adding new shops along the way, the OG Pablo's — where deep maroon walls backdrop plants that have (probably) been there since its inception — retains the spirit of Old Denver, before the city, and craft coffee, became cool. With consistently good coffee and small bites, Pablo's — which still has no wi-fi — is a true neighborhood gathering spot, and the ideal place to relax and unwind.

Courtesy The Bardo Coffeehouse on South Broadway Facebook

For the past thirteen years, the Bardo on South Broadway has offered a quiet reprieve from the otherwise busy bar scene on the strip. Free of alcohol, loud music and dancing, it's a safe place for night owls to converge and students to pull an all-night study sesh. After COVID-19, the Bardo reopened with reduced hours, but it's slowly been extending them; currently, two of its three locations are open until midnight. With any luck, it will return to its pre-pandemic glory days of welcoming guests until 2 a.m. or later, but for now, we're satisfied knowing we can find high-quality caffeine after 6 p.m. on a weeknight.

Catie Cheshire

The circa 1890 Lumber Baron Inn has a haunted history, but even those who aren’t interested in the supernatural will find sustenance in a delightful afternoon tea at the historic mansion-turned-bed-and-breakfast. For a price that truly feels like a steal, guests are treated to the architectural wonders of the inn, as well as tea sandwiches, sweet treats and piping hot cups of whatever tea strikes their fancy.

Best Place for Coffee and Ice Cream


Molly Martin

This European-style cafe from the owners of ice cream favorite High Point Creamery opened inside the 11th Avenue Hostel in the summer of 2022. Eiskaffee works as either a coffee shop or an ice cream shop, but the best options are those that combine the two, like affogatos made with any flavor (definitely try the Bavarian cream), shots of espresso served in chocolate-coated edible "cone" cups, and the namesake eiskaffee, a combination of coffee made with locally air-roasted Kaladi beans and ice cream topped with whipped cream and served with a waffle-cone cookie.

Brooke Leigh Photography

Since opening in November 2022, this cafe has quickly become a force in the vibrant Denver coffee scene. Owners Kristin Lacy and Vivi Lemus channeled their love for Guatemala and community into creating Convivio, named for the tradition of get-togethers centered around food and drink. Lemus focuses on her roots for Latin-inspired eats, while Lacy brings her background in coffee agriculture and retail work to source teas and beans from Guatemala. From mural-adorned walls to Latino artwork, Convivio Café provides a home away from home in its West Highland location. It's also become a hub for Central American immigrants and culture, with a mission to set tables where all are welcome.

Bakery Four

Shawn Bergin moved to Denver with dreams of starting a bakery business, but his original small operation quickly outgrew its Highland home. In March of 2022, Bakery Four debuted in a new, expansive space that allows Bergin to make much larger quantities of his sought-after, naturally leavened pastries, bread, bagels and more. There is a line almost daily, and rightfully so, as fans load up on everything from flaky cream-filled cruffins to savory sausage rolls to sandwiches on fresh baguettes. Next up for Bergin: adding a second, bagel-focused concept dubbed Rich Spirit in Wheat Ridge.

Banh & Butter

Banh & Butter, where have you been all our lives? Pastry chef Thoa Nguyen, whose family formerly owned New Saigon restaurant on South Federal Boulevard, debuted her own bakery in April 2022. It's an excellent emporium of flaky sweet nothings, including green tea cruffins, French apple tarts, crêpe cakes, savory Danish and other pretties piled high with ube (purple yam) cream. It's also a banh mi sandwich palace and an East-meets-West coffeehouse where you can order an espresso or a Vietnamese coffee poured over housemade flan. Don't think twice: This East Colfax gem is going in the right direction.

Tom Hellauer

The Spring Fling cake was a signature at Larimer Square staple the Market until it closed in April 2020 after 42 years in business. For nearly three decades, Melchor Ocampo served as the Market's head baker, and now he and his family are bringing back some favorites from the shuttered business, including the much-loved fruit-filled cake. But every cake at Eternal Flavors Bakery is celebration-worthy. Stop by for single slices, or pre-order whole cakes for any occasion...or no occasion at all, because you don't need an excuse to eat cake this good.

Botanical Bakery of Denver

What began as a love of the outdoors and also the kitchen blossomed into a botanical-inspired bakery, aptly named the Botanical Bakery of Denver. Located inside South Broadway plant shop Birdsall & Co., the bakery, which opened in September 2022, spreads whimsy and joy with its tasty pastries and events. Owner and baker Dylah Ray finds inspiration in nature to bring unique flavor pairings to a daily offering of mini pies, scones and croissants. Plant-forward pastries come topped with fresh herbs and colorful edible flowers, like the signature lavender shortbread pansy cookies, so you can have your plant and eat it, too.

Molly Martin

Denver's longest-running cheese shop, Truffle Cheese originally opened in 2001 and is now run by Lisa Morris, who started working at the store part-time when she needed a break from the nine-to-five of her accounting career. Now she's all in on the cheese game. With a knowledgeable and energetic team that includes her son, Samuel Farber, Truffle Cheese turns a visit into way more than a shopping trip; it's also a chance to learn more about the rotating selection of cheeses from around the world, all of which are cut to order. That makes it a must-stop for anyone putting together a board for a picnic, party or simple at-home snacking.

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