In the midst of rabid PSL hunting season, I’m going to make a controversial statement: Starbucks is super lame.
Sorry if that’s your jam, but boring, corporate coffee from halfway across the country does nothing for me. It is to coffee what McDonald’s is to fast food, or what Walmart is to retail. We can all avoid it, but many of us don’t for whatever reasons. Those places do the job, but they’re so, so boring.
Luckily, Downtown Cincinnati doesn’t have to settle for soulless, caffeine-laden, brown water from Seattle. In the urban core alone, several privately-owned, unique coffee places cater to the same crowd in a way that puts those logo-heavy business giants to shame.
Sure, you’ve heard of Coffee Emporium and Collective Espresso. Those are the Rhinegiests and MadTrees of the local coffee world. Sleepy Bee is heading into 4th Street soon, and Kitty’s Coffee already has several spots around the Central Business District.
But beneath the Blind Pig and O’Malley’s in the Alley sits a quiet, warm, and beautifully eclectic coffee house called Lola’s (formerly Coffee at Lola’s) on 3rd Street.
They serve all the coffee mainstays that Starbucks shills, but with the added bonus of it being actually good and with a friendly staff to boot. And not only that, Lola’s doubles as a bar and even infuses its signature drinks with liquor for when you need to wake up for Happy Hour.
Not the coffee type? That’s fine, too. With a range of beer, wine, and mixed drinks, Lola’s has something for everyone. Party there after a Bengals game, bring your book or laptop to work and read in peace, meet up with friends or colleagues to discuss any manner of things, or just come sit at the bar and enjoy a nice conversation with the barista over a latte. Lola’s is a multi-purpose establishment for a crowd of diverse interests.
And to top it all off, the actual space Lola’s inhabits is as beautiful as it is flexible. This isn’t just another coffee shop and bar; it’s a full on aesthetic powerhouse. Private booth seating and an outdoor patio, along with café chairs and a long bar provide myriad seating options that are surrounded by a wide range of odd lamps and antique furniture to keep your curious eyes wandering around the room.
Need more convincing? Hit up the gallery above and see for yourself why Lola’s is the clear choice for downtown coffee shops.
Lola’s is located at 24 W 3rd St, Cincinnati, OH 45202.