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My favorite Coffee Shops in OTR – the little hidden gems.

One of life’s simplest pleasures is ducking inside a cozy coffee shop for a steaming cup of coffee, right?
And it’s no secret there are many to choose from in Over the Rhine, and downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.  It’s easy to find the big name stores with “Coffee” in the title.  Here’s a few I particularly like that may be a little more obscure, but worth the stop!

Quan Hapa, 1131 Vine Street

Quan Hapa is a favorite spot for Asian/Vietnamese/Japanese dishes.  My favorite is the okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake.  Their coffee is pretty special too.  They proudly serve Lang Thang Coffee Co. Vietnamese Coffee cold on Nitro Draft which is great in the summer. But I like it warm, so they do a pour over.  What I love about their coffee is the thick base of sweetened condensed milk on the bottom just waiting to be swirled to the top. If you want to create this masterpiece at home, you can now purchase their Saigon Phin Daklak on Amazon!

a close up of a blender

B & A Street Kitchen, 1500 Race Street

B & A Street Kitchen offers a wide variety of coffee drinks in a popular half day cafe. Plus they have a walk up window! I believe they were one of the first in the city to offer Nitro coffee for when you really need a jolt! 

They offer their house coffee in regular & decaf, Americano, Espresso, Macchiato, Cappuccino, Latte and Mocha plus Mexican Hot Chocolate!

This Southern/Tex Mex diner serves up the best home made dishes in honor of the owners, Jim and Norman Kerns, mothers. The “B” stands for Jim’s mother, Barbara, and the “A” for Norma’s mother, Aurora.

They are also our neighbors and friends, so I’m a little biased!

a display in a store filled with lots of different types of food

Holtman’s Donuts, 1332 Vine Street

It’s no surprise that you can buy a cup of coffee at a donut shop.  Really – who goes into Holtman’s for just a cup of coffee? With over 50 varieties of reader’s choice ‘Cincinnati’s Best Donut”, ordering a cup of coffee is not what I’m there for!

Here’s the thing to remember, Holtman’s coffee is priced about 20% lower than anywhere else in OTR, so buy the donut.  It’s like a free bonus!

Buzzed Bull, 1408 Main Street

Buzzed Bull Creamery in Over-the-Rhine is known for it’s use of liquid nitrogen to make ‘boozey’ ice cream and shakes right before your eyes!  With names like Honey Bourbon Pecan and Death by Chocolate (laced with chocolate vodka) or a Buzzed Bull Margarita with tequila, who can resist a buzz on a warm summer night?

But winter can be tough on the sales of frozen concoctions, no matter how good they taste. So Buzzed Bull expanded their offerings to include a range of coffees, lattes, milks, syrups and specialty espresso drinks offering customers a way to warm up during cold weather months.

Similar to their main menu, customers will be able to get the same “buzzed” and “non-buzzed” categories at the espresso bar. That means many of the popular ice cream flavors can now be enjoyed as a hot drink. Cheers!

a person cooking food on a table

Iris Bookcafe, 1131 Main Street

Iris Bookcafe is hard to put a label on.  It’s a used bookstore, not a library.  It’s a restaurant specializing in healthy dishes, heavy on vegan dishes and baked goods. Peeking in from the street, you would never guess what lies beyond the maze of rooms. At the rear of the store/cafe is a beautiful courtyard with tall shade trees that provide an urban canopy on a hot summer day.  It’s the perfect spot to unwind, to get some work done or to meet a friend.

Iris Bookcafe opened in 2007 as a coffee shop and ice cream store because owner Julie Fay liked really good coffee and ice cream!

They are proud of their reputation as a locavore cafe.  That includes their coffee drinks too.  The drip coffee sells for $2 for a 16oz cup!  They also have cold brew, espresso, red eye, latte and cappuccino.

a person sitting on a bench in a park

 Laura and Mike Noyes are the owners of Riverside Food Tours

They host 3 hour food and culture tours 7 days a week featuring locally owned neighborhood restaurants.  They live in Over the Rhine.