High Five coffee at Asheville, North Carolina

Explore the local flavor of downtown Asheville via one of the many independent coffeehouses. The nationally acclaimed foodie scene isn’t limited to restaurants and breweries. The ever expanding coffee lineup brings forth plenty of exciting options. There are numerous options whether you are seeking top knotch coffee, a hipster hangout, an eclectic local art scene, farm-to-table food, or freshly made pastries.

From beignets, to doughnuts, to homemade croissants, muffins, and bagels, each shop offers its’ own interesting lineup of treats to go along with that cup of joe. While the vibrant culinary scene tends to draw all the attention, there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a new favorite coffee shop on any given vacation.

1. City Bakery Cafe

  • Highlights: Homemade pastries, serves top rated Dynamite coffee, cozy spacious setting, homemade artisan breads & bagels, opens early
  • What to try: Chocolate croissant, cinnamon roll, maple brown sugar poptart, veggie bagel, quiche, golden milk
Cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant, and an Americano at City Bakery in Asheville, North Carolina

This fantastic local bakery has 2 convenient locations including a downtown cafe which opens earlier than most other businesses (7:30am), so you can fuel up bright and early prior to any outdoor adventures. They serve coffee from local NC roaster Dynamite, a full lineup of specialty drinks, and most importantly, a huge menu of delicious made from scratch pastries. If you have a sweet tooth, you are sure to be impressed with the selection. Tantalizing daily treats include chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls, maple sugar poptarts, danishes, and more. If you are craving something a bit more savory, try the quiche of the day or a bagel sandwich.

The interior is spacious with plenty of room to handle the bustling crowds. The vibe is casual with a cozy, clean and modern appeal. During the warm season, you will want to sip your caffeinated beverage of choice on the quaint outdoor patio. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a treat and cup of joe on a mild summer or spring morning.

2. Double D’s

  • Highlights Eccentric ambiance, trendy, central location
  • What to try: Americano, fruit smoothie, peppermint bark mocha, lavender honey latte
Americano at Double D's in Asheville, North Carolina

You really cannot miss the huge red London style double decker bus as you make your way around downtown. This iconic local gem is a must try by any new visitor looking to explore the weird side of Asheville. The coffee here is quite delicious although they only serve in paper cups which is a bummer for anyone who desires a proper coffee experience. Nevertheless, the coffee is delicious. The food menu is not as enticing here, although they do carry a small selection of locally baked goods with several GF options.

The eclectic ambiance is what sets Double D’s apart. If you are looking for something unique to do, stop by for a drink in a really cool setting. Double D’s is located in the center of the downtown, and thus, a perfect stop in between popping in and out of shops.

3. Bebette’s

  • Highlight: New Orleans style beignets, nice location inside the historic Grove Arcade building
  • Must try: Beignet with chocolate dipping sauce, house coffee, masala chai tea
Beignets with chocolate dipping sauce at Bebette's New Orleans coffeehouse in Asheville, North Carolina

Craving a little bit of New Orleans culture? No need to book a flight. Head right over to Bebette’s inside the Grove Arcade to indulge in some classic beignets. While the house coffee is delicious, the beignets are the true winner here. Beignets are basically airy pillow shaped dough pieces which are lightly fried with a soft center. As soon as you walk in you can see the staff hard at work rolling out the dough by hand for a true authentic experience. Do try the beignets served with an indulgent chocolate dipping sauce!

Small space, although the vibe is still warm and inviting. Bonus – it’s located inside the Grove arcade so you can browse the shops before/after your visit. It’s quite a long wait for the food and coffee even early on in the morning (I can’t imagine the wait on a busy day!). However, Bebette’s is worth a stop for the unique food offerings and delicious coffee. Arrive at opening (7am) to shorten your wait time a bit!

4. High Five

  • Highlight: Excellent coffee, nice ambiance, exposed brick walls
  • What to try: Americano, house coffee, mocha, everything bagel with housemade hummus
Delicious bagel and coffee at High Five Coffee in Asheville, North Carolina

Beautiful coffeehouse located in a building with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. They serve counter Culture coffee, a top rated roaster based out of Durham, NC. All of their drinks are delicious, whether you go with a classic drip, a double shot of espresso, or a mocha which is made using chocolate from local chocolatier French Broad. For anyone who is not a fan of coffee, treat yourself to a Matcha Latte or a Golden milk latte made with immune boosting turmeric and warming spices. This is a real treat on a cold fall or winter’s day.

The food options are a bit limited. Selections include bananas, bagels, hard boiled eggs, macaroons, chocolate chip cookies, and GF/vegan granola. Their double seeded everything bagel (try with their delicious homemade veggie cream cheese) is so good. Overall, the nice historic vibe and cozy ambiance makes Hive Five one of the best places to linger over a cup of coffee on a rainy day.

5. Times Bar

  • Highlight: Trendy, classy elegant vibe, fun specialty drinks
  • What to try: Matcha Love latte, Lavender mocha
The Times Bar in downtown Asheville, North Carolina

Beautiful place to stop for an afternoon drink, cup of coffee, or specialty espresso drink. The vibe is trendy and bustling. The decor is elegant and classy as it is located in the historic S&W Cafeteria building. It’s located in the center of downtown, and thus, the perfect stop after an afternoon of exploration. Locals beers, import wines, specialty and classic cocktails, plus craft coffee from Seattle favorite Caffe Vita Coffee Roasters are all on the lineup.

Times is most known for their specialty drinks, both cocktail and non alcoholic. Their matcha green tea latte is delicious. The Lavender mocha featuring white chocolate, cinnamon, honey, lavender, milk, and a double shot of espresso is another fantastic choice. All drinks can be made dairy-free using oat milk. Although a bit pricey, the refined presentation and beautiful ambiance make this a great choice for a one time splurge.

A few more downtown coffeehouses to check out

The following coffeeshops are average at best, although if you run out of options, you may want to consider checking them out.

Old Europe – Delicious pastries, although coffee is too bitter. Not much seating and always super busy. Come for the quiche and sweets and go elsewhere for the coffee!

Pastry selection at Old Europe in Asheville, North Carolina

Battery Park – Beautiful place to browse old books and enjoy wine and champagne. However, the coffee is mediocre and only served to go in a paper cup.

Battery Park Book Exchange in downtown Asheville, North Carolina

Outside of the downtown limits, there are a number of fantastic coffeeshops, most much better than the downtown options. The following are 3 of the best coffeeshops in the Asheville area (definitely worth the drive!).

All Day Darling – Serves top rated Counter Culture coffee. Great patio. Delicious full food menu including bagel sandwiches and Shashuka.

Blueberry muffin and house coffee at All Day Darling in Asheville, North Carolina

Fletcher Bakery and Cafe – A bit of a drive away in Arden, but worth it for the fresh homemade pastries and bagels. Best bagels, croissants, and Danishes in the area! Serves Counter Culture Coffee. Nice cozy quiet seating area and never overly busy. Pick up a loaf of homemade bread while you are here.

Chocolate croissant and drip coffee at Fletcher Bakery and Cafe in Arden, NC

Sweeten Creek Coffee – Cozy coffeehouse located outside of the city. Friendly with a local vibe. Their coffee/espresso is hands down the best in the city. Serves lots of specialty drinks, plus bagels from local favorite Joey D’s.

Everything bagel and Americano at Sweeten Creek Coffee in Asheville, NC