Remember Xando? At one point, there were several of these Cosi-owned outposts around Philadelphia. They were modeled after a style of cafe popular throughout Europe, selling coffee and pastries to the morning crowd and transitioning to a full-on bar at night. The chain ended up failing — but maybe it was simply ahead of its time.
This summer, Starbucks announced it would add evening booze to several of its urban cafes, hinting that the concept is on its way back. While it hasn’t really hit hard across the country yet — there are only a handful of cafe/bar combos in all of California, for example — Philly appears to be at the forefront of the trend.
Even better, we don’t have to rely on corporate chains to get our morning uppers and evening soothers in the same place. There are at least six independent operations following the dual identity model, with more on the way. Here’s where you can cop a cuppa in the AM and swing back through for happy hour later.
After five years on East Passyunk and two years in Center City, the Mascieri brothers just made the move to add booze to the menu at their wood-bedecked coffee and sandwich shops. Early treats like egg sandos, pastries and granola go with Square One coffee drinks, and a new menu with some hot dishes is now complemented by wine and beer after 4 PM. Look for even more at the new Queen Village location, coming to Fifth and Monroe (at that weird Passyunk intersection) at the beginning of next year.
1710 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-909-8083
1602 Spruce St., 215-560-8684
When it opens each morning at 7 or 8 AM, this Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp-run spot in Old City pumps out Rival Bros. coffee and some pretty amazing pastries (Red Eye Danish, what up) to a crowd that flocks to the counter. Come lunchtime, thing shift to sit-down service of sandwiches and salads, and then evolve again into a nighttime destination serving cocktails, beer, wine and some very creative (and compelling) hot food.
308 Market St., 215-625-0988
At most locations, including those in NYC, DC, Chicago and Philadelphia, these coffee shops are just that, offering Philly-roasted coffee drinks plus just a handful of pastries, if you’re lucky enough to arrive before they sell out. At the new Fishtown emporium, however, things get more fun. Later in the day, a full menu of sandwiches and skillets can be paired with a pour of brew or vino, or a cocktail made with La Colombe Different Drum coffee-infused rum. That’ll spark up your evening.
1335 Frankford Ave., 267-479-1600
What if you took the coffee and gelato masterpiece that is Capogiro, and affixed a full restaurant with booze and Neapolitan pizza at night? That’s what Stephanie and John Reitano have done at their newest spot in Old City. The front counter overflows with house-baked pastries throughout the morning, but you can sit at the very same spot and sip on boozy drinks throughout the night. Italy, we see you.
233 Chestnut St., 215-897-999
A group of friends decided that if they were going to open a spot across from Union Transfer, it had to be a place they would all want to hang out at, no matter what time of day it was. The result is an organically eclectic morning coffee shop with varied pastries baked in house that transforms into an equally laid-back and hip bar at night, with good beer on tap and cocktails that won’t break the bank.
931 Spring Garden St., no phone
Stepping into this bi-level Rittenhouse venture really does feel like crossing the Atlantic. A pair of brothers with restaurants in the Philly suburbs happened onto two of Italy’s top food artisans — a coffee roaster and a gelato maker — right after their town (L’Aquila) had been devastated by an earthquake. Instead of waiting to rebuild, they decamped and set up shop here. Robusta espressos will wake you up in the AM, and generous wine pours plus Italian digestifs will wind down your night.
Fabric Row is about to get a whole lot more welcoming, any time of day. Someday soon (def this year, we’re hearing), this combo coffee shop and restaurant will open in Queen Village. In the morning, hit up the Ultimo coffee counter ensconced inside and snag pastries by co-owner and baker extraordinaire Pat O’Malley; come back at night and sip drinks while checking out chef Scott Schroeder’s chops — his food goes way beyond the pub fare he’s known for at SPTR and American Sardine Bar.
743 S. 4th St., phone pending
Also on target for a 2015 launch is this unique Midtown Village establishment from Michael Schulson of Sampan and Independence Beer Garden. On the first floor, a cafe will serve coffee and pastries throughout the morning, adding grab and go sandwiches at lunch. In the evening, the below-ground izakaya opens, with gorgeous Japanese plates from chef de cuisine Kevin Yanaga and a full bar. There will be happy hour upstairs, too, mostly focussed on bubbly and cocktails made with coffee.
120 S. 13th St., phone pending