Houston's love affair with coffee shops doesn't seem to be in any danger of dying out. And this time of year, with classes at colleges and high schools starting up again and students looking for places to study (or not), coffee shops are swinging back into high gear -- especially those open into the early morning hours.
Here's what we think are the ten best late-night coffee shops in Houston.
Note: There are tons of wonderful coffee houses, like Catalina Coffee, Dirk's and Revival Market, but these (along with others) are not open late at night. We do love their coffee, but this is a list of coffee shops that don't go to bed so early.
This Midtown bar/coffeehouse is great for studying in the afternoon, but at night it's more of a social hangout. The bartenders are extremely personable and ready to help you decide whether it should be a shot of espresso, a cappuccino, latte or Americano. The coffee drinks made from Greenway Coffee are always spot on. Double Trouble is open until 2 a.m. daily.
Recently ranked as the top bar in the East End, or "EaDo," Bohemeo's is also a wonderful place to spend an evening any night of the week. No, it is not the best place to sit and drink your coffee in peace, but it's great for live music, especially for Beatles Open Mic night on Wednesdays from 8-11. If your choice-coffee concoction isn't on the menu, your barista will still take your order. And remember you can't go wrong with a frozen mochaccino blended with either chocolate, white chocolate or caramel.
Similar to Inversion, Black Hole, which opened in Montrose back in early 2011, provides the typical hipster environment for late night coffee-goers until midnight each day of the week, especially for students studying at St. Thomas University or Rice University. The coffee shop created by the same people who brought you Poison Girl and Antidote provides comfy chairs and couches. While the locally roasted coffee from Marfa is great, the tea and snacks will make you come back. Opt for the ever-popular Cajeta latte or or sip on a Chai tea latte with a PBJ+, which isn't your ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Black Hole sticks goat cheese plus the peanut butter and jelly between warm challah bread.
It's hard to see while driving by on Westheimer, but this tucked away coffeehouse is one you can't miss. You have to use the valet service to park - fortunately it is complimentary - but once you get to Southside Espresso, you're in for a relaxing, calm evening. Sit outside at a patio table, enjoy an iced coffee in this heat and spend time on your computer, or relax inside the dimly lit tiny coffeehouse. Owner, Sean Marshall, roasts his own beans, making for outstanding cups of coffee. Southside is also open until midnight all week long.
Even though Boomtown is not open past 10 p.m., we couldn't leave this awesome coffee shop off our list, especially because Boomtown has the iced mocha toddy, in which the coffee beans are steeped in cold water for almost 12 hours. Katharine Shilcutt describes the iced coffee as having a "caramel-sweet" flavor and recommends drinking it with chocolate, cream and sugar. Escape the heat and enjoy this drink late at night. It'll cool you down and satisfy your caffeine-sugar cravings.
5. Down House
Yes, Down House is not "technically" a coffee shop, but this restaurant, open until midnight daily, not only serves up delicious food such as the kim chi burger or Asian-style shrimp and grits, but great drinks as well. Try out The Wonka Sanction, a latte made with crème de cacao, dark rum and chocolate bitters, or the cold-served Kaldi Cocktail made with scotch, espresso, cream, kirsch and maple syrup. Of course, if you're in need of a wake-up, you can't go wrong with a cortado made with two shots of espresso.
If you're looking for a place to sit with your laptop in peace and drink a great cup of coffee, Inversion is the place for you. Because it is a little warm outside to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, opt for the 24-hour cold brewed coffee; it's refreshing, a little sweet and much better than any plain iced coffee available elsewhere.
Brasil was the first true coffee bar in Houston when it opened in 1992 and it is still doling out good drinks and service till 2 a.m. at either of its two patios and inside the restaurant. Listen to music while you sip on a mocha latte, café au lait or a simple cup of drip coffee.
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Antidote is one of the best places to sit comfortably in one of the couches, enjoy an iced or hot Cajeta latte (it's made with goat's milk dulce de leche!) and get some work done on your laptop at this casual hipster coffee shop open until midnight daily.
There's something about Agora that makes you feel perfectly relaxed and at ease. Maybe it's the personable baristas, the Greek music softly playing in the background, or the comfortable seating upstairs, downstairs and outside. Agora is open until 2 a.m. every day. Get a warm cappuccino served in a mug with two brown sugar cubes on the side and a soft, small cookie, or an iced coffee or granita. Agora's coffee and espresso tastes just like ones you would find in Europe; it's strong, not overly bitter and perfectly sweet.