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Friday, May 27, 2022 — Houston, TX

Chasing the buzz beyond the hedges

Photo by Marcel Merwin | The Rice Thresher

By Kaylen Strench, Arts and Entertainment Editor     8/29/14 11:42am

Rice is an amazing place, with perhaps equally amazing coffee – (Rice Coffeehouse, Salento). However, it is shameful to go to college in one of America’s largest cities and not venture outside of the hedges occasionally, even if it is just to grab a cup of joe and hit the books. Here are the coffeeshops that I think every adventurous, sleep-deprived Rice student should be sure to visit this semester:

1. Blacksmith

1018 Westheimer Rd.

Hours: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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COME FOR THE: Giant, melt-in-your-mouth buttermilk biscuits

STAY FOR THE: Incredibly friendly staff and the nostalgic vibe

Blacksmith is a quaint, boxy coffee house tucked into Montrose. These qualities only seem to add to the comfortable, escapist atmosphere of the place. The staff is warm and friendly and the wooden tables, china dishes and hearty breakfast food transport you to a southern relative’s cozy, rural bungalow. Blacksmith is the perfect place to shake off fast-paced city life and recreate that “back home” feeling.

2. Inversion

1953 Montrose Blvd.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.

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COME FOR THE: Food trucks that are parked outside most mornings/weekends

STAY FOR THE: Amazing local art

Inversion is a cafe for the modern man or woman. The shop, situated in the Houston Art League building, boasts innovative New Age architecture and walls coated with artwork from prominent local artists. Also notable is the parade of food trucks that periodically park right outside – on my visits I encountered Chicken and Waffle and Breakfast Burrito trucks, but lunch trucks also stop by on the weekends.

3. Southside Expresso

904-C Westheimer Rd.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

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COME FOR THE: Best lattes ever to touch your lips

STAY FOR THE: Perfect study atmosphere

You have to hunt for Southside, which is nestled right behind Uchi off Westheimer. However, your search will not be in vain. Southside is best known for its incredible lattes that can be custom-made with an infinite variety of syrups and types of milk (almond, coconut, soy – you name it). Dine at one of the wonderful adjacent restaurants, then walk next door and sip a sweet latte in Southside’s warm glow. 

4. Black Hole Coffee

4504 Graustark St.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

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COME FOR THE: Baked goods and other treats, especially the giant pretzels

STAY FOR THE: People watching

Black Hole indisputably takes the gold for the most hipster cafe. Located right next to a laundromat, Black Hole has surprisingly comfortable lumpy couches and a collection of Lindsay Lohan paintings that ooze eccentricity. The coffee is great, but the food is to die for. Black Hole bakes a variety of sinful treats like black chevre chocolate raspberry cupcakes and massive ball game pretzels.

5. Agora

1712 Westheimer Rd.

Hours: 9 a.m.-2:00 a.m.

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COME FOR THE: Cheap cocktails and Texas Pecan Iced Coffee

STAY FOR THE: Great hangout atmosphere

I would say that Agora is the dominant coffee house in Montrose, and for good reason. Decorated masterfully with an ancient Greek theme, Agora has a perfect hangout vibe. A jukebox plays mellow tunes, groups can lounge on comfortable couches downstairs and the place sells high quality beers, wines and cocktails for happy hour-goers. Agora is a great place to take a buddy, a romantic interest, or even yourself on a date.

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