Food and Drink

Work From Home at Dallas' 15 Best Coffee Shops

For when you absolutely, positively need to be productive.

Merit Coffee Co.
Merit Coffee Co.
Merit Coffee Co.

The original version of this list first came out in late February 2020, when the concept of working remotely was all but a dream to millions of people around the world. Of course, now we’re all experts in getting things done from just about anywhere except a cubicle (or corner office overlooking downtown, as the case may be). Yet, even though off-site working may be here to stay for many, the confines of our own homes can lead to lower productivity rate-especially when you’re mere steps away from the bedroom where a nap or cuddle session with the dog can be oh-so-alluring. And that’s exactly why coffeehouses have always served as a necessary respite to the remote workforce.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it among these 15 new and all-time greats around Dallas-Fort Worth. Just make sure to order often if you plan to camp out for a few hours, tip well, and do your very best not to annoy the baristas.

Well Grounded Coffee Co
Well Grounded Coffee Co
Well Grounded Coffee Co

Well Grounded Coffee Community

East Dallas
This charming spot near White Rock Lake is the community home base, not just for the neighbours who frequent it, but also for the women who work here. Whether they’ve served jail time or dealt with another similarly devastating life setback, the employees here get a chance to thrive and learn skills that go far beyond making coffee. GED classes, résumé building, and being an integral part of operating a small business are but a handful of ways this coffee-fueled program helps these women prepare for the future and hold fast to hope. Of course, without great beans, their opportunities would be dramatically reduced. Thankfully, the java here is top-notch, and warming up with a signature Cinnamon Roll Latte is highly recommended.

sweet_grass_market
sweet_grass_market
sweet_grass_market

Sweet Grass Neighborhood Market

Old East Dallas
If your cravings tend to start with the letter C, you’ll be in triple heaven at this new joint on Ross Avenue that’s equal parts coffee shop, convenience store, and Cajun restaurant. Come for a Strawberry Boba or Caramel Frappe, stay for a hearty meal of Fried Catfish, Po-boys, or Shrimp and Grits. Then pick up a few necessities to take home, including staples like milk, juice, and canned goods.

Magnolias Sous Le Pont
Magnolias Sous Le Pont
Magnolias Sous Le Pont

Magnolias: Sous Le Pont

Harwood District
Time for a little French lesson. The phrase “sous le pont” translates to “under the bridge,” and that’s exactly where you’ll find this charming little café-under a bridge in the Harwood District. From the teal facade to the cozy interior, it’s a feast for the senses-especially the olfactory ones, thanks to the aromas drifting out of Avoca Coffee Roasters’ tantalizing creations. Grab a Breakfast Taco and a Lavender Love Latte by morning, a Ham and Butter Sandwich and a Turmeric Latte for lunch, or pop in for a beverage to-go after browsing their selection of gifts and greeting cards.

Funny Library Coffee Shop
Funny Library Coffee Shop
Funny Library Coffee Shop

Funny Library Coffee Shop

Design District
Unlike most actual libraries, the librarians in this spot adjacent to the Virgin Hotels Dallas lobby actually encourage you to eat and drink inside (with coffee by Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man) and be as boisterous as you like (especially if you choose the “Boozify Your Cuppa” option). Place your beverage and housemade pastry order at the small counter next to a Texas-meets-England mural featuring curiosities like Queen riding a bucking horse, and Big Tex sporting a Union Jack shirt. Before you settle into a table to work, grab a book off the shelf for some zen inspiration-your options include a guide to cooking with weed, and a book jammed full of 879 puns.

The Weed Spot

Bishop Arts District
The effects of CBD are hotly debated, but some research indicates that, in addition to providing a calming effect, it also increases creativity and improves focus-a perfect combo for working in a public space with innumerable potential distractions. At the Weed Spot, lots of natural light and faux grass-lined walls add to the sense of euphoria. The menu here is short and sweet, and each Espresso, Latte, or Viennese Coffee is made using CBD-infused Costa Rican beans, which they claim reduces jitters and other common side effects associated with traditional coffee.

Foxtrot
Foxtrot
Foxtrot

Foxtrot

Multiple locations
Order a pour-over made with single-origin Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters beans and a Spicy Chicken Breakfast Biscuit, then snag a table and dive into your to-do list-just make sure joining the Foxtrot Perks rewards program is at the top of your agenda. Spend $100 each month at this modern cafe and convenience store, and you’ll enjoy benefits like free coffee, free delivery, and happy hour pricing on beer, wine, and cocktails all day long. And if your list involves grocery shopping, you’re in luck: Fresh meats, bread, produce, groceries, and chef-prepared meals can all be purchased in person (or from the app, so you don’t lose your table).

Herb's House Coffee + Company
Herb’s House Coffee + Company
Herb’s House Coffee + Company

Herb’s House

Upper Greenville
It’s one thing to close a deal at a two-top in a quiet corner, but there are times when a legit meeting space is in order. In addition to an abundance of communal workspace with high-speed Wi-Fi and a public printer, guests here can rent out several private, closed-door spaces: the Boardroom, Think Tank, Work Zone, Herb’s Patio (complete with a fireplace), or even the entire dang shop. Between checking off agenda items, sip on Cultivar Coffee and munch on Tacodeli tacos or a variety of house-crafted sandwiches and snacks.

The Adolphus
The Adolphus
The Adolphus

Otto’s Coffee Shop

Downtown
Named for general manager Otto Schubert who ran the Adolphus Hotel from 1928 to 1946, this European-style coffee shop offers multiple rooms with varying levels of quietude, depending on your needs. In addition to all the usual Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters espresso drinks, Otto’s offers teas, beer, wine, and should you be in a bubbly mood, ice-cold Dr Peppers. Whatever you choose, it’ll pair perfectly with a crispy, handheld, Nutella-slathered Liege Waffle (also available via the walk-up window on Commerce Street).

Ampersand
Ampersand
Ampersand

Ampersand

Fort Worth
It all starts with a unique air-roasting process at this dual-location Fort Worth coffee shop started by TCU alumni. The low-key, homey environment makes for a very comfortable day of reading, typing, or hopping on calls from one of the plush banquettes while sipping on a signature drink like the R.F.M.E. (Reason for My Existence): a shaken iced breve latte with hazelnut. Add a shot of booze to any drink for five bucks, or slip into the back of the space where you’ll find a full-on bar with plenty of non-caffeinated tipples for an entirely different kind of buzz come evening.

White Rock Coffee
White Rock Coffee
White Rock Coffee

White Rock Coffee

Lake Highlands
During the day, this hangout’s two-story layout makes for a fantastic place to work, with the majority of folks nesting upstairs where there are fewer things to draw your attention away from the tasks at hand. White Rock Coffee roasts all of its beans, from single origins to crowd-pleasing blends, and serves up a variety of tasty pastries and lunch offerings. Just plan to get your work done before 8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, when you’re likely to encounter live music or an open-mic night.

Ascension Coffee
Ascension Coffee
Ascension Coffee

Ascension Coffee

Multiple locations
Anyone who frequents coffee shops on a daily basis knows that a morning visit can easily turn into an all-day affair-and when that happens, you need something more substantial than dry biscotti to remain motivated. Thankfully, Ascension Coffee counts more than cruffins and croissants among its European cafe-style selections. Menus vary by location, but full breakfast entrees, salads, flatbreads, soups, and sandwiches can be found in some form at each, with healthy and indulgent options in every category. Best of all, table service is available, so you don’t ever have to worry about leaving your computer unattended when it comes time to order a second Poke Tuna Bowl.

The Wild Detectives
The Wild Detectives
The Wild Detectives

Wild Detectives

Bishop Arts District
Part bookstore, part coffee shop, part restaurant and bar, and part entertainment venue, Wild Detectives truly offers something for everyone. Order any book online or at the shop, they’ll ship it to the store for free, and even buy you a drink when you come to pick it up. And once you’ve found a hard-to-come-by parking spot in the neighborhood, you might as well stick around, sip on some java from nearby Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, crush a slice of Smooth Operator from Emporium Pies around the corner, and get a little work done-in a quiet nook inside or under the trees in the spacious backyard. Time it right and your day could end with a production of Shakespeare in the Bar, a book reading, or a singer-songwriter jam session.

Houndstooth Coffee
Houndstooth Coffee
Houndstooth Coffee

Houndstooth Coffee

Walnut Hill
Even though Houndstooth has multiple area locations, the Austin-based company’sWalnut Hill outpost is easily the coolest, where a duo of solar-powered tiny houses sit connected via an only-slightly-less tiny patio. Give your order to the barista in the first building, then retreat to the second one, affectionately known as the Schoolhouse. Inside, you’ll find a serene, sun-filled space with plenty of chairs and workstations, far away from all the sounds of frothing, foaming, and frappe-ing.

La La Land Kind Cafe
La La Land Kind Cafe
La La Land Kind Cafe

La La Land Kind Cafe

Lowest Greenville; Oak Lawn; Lover’s Lane
From the ingredients to the mission statement, this cheery cafe is about promoting integrity and social consciousness through normalising kindness. The founders started the We Are One project, which helps provide housing, job opportunities, therapy, and other essentials for aged-out foster youth forced onto the streets. Many of the employees are former foster kids themselves, so every time you stop in here to work and sip on a coffee or matcha drink from their all-organic menu, you’re actually helping to make a difference in people’s lives. That’s a win-win.

Merit Coffee Co.
Merit Coffee Co.
Merit Coffee Co.

Merit Coffee

Deep Ellum, Highland Park
At either the bright and airy Deep Ellum location or the small-but-chic Highland Park outpost of this San Antonio import, you’ll find ideal setups for facilitating two-person meetings or a little solo concentration time. That’s because nearly all the seating centers around small, bistro-style tables, just the right size for a strictly business tête-à-tête. Each day, a minimum of a half-dozen roasts are available, all crafting beverages from an equally succinct drink menu.

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Steven Lindsey is a Thrillist contributor.

Food and Drink

The Best Ways to Dress Up Your Summer Beers

From micheladas to shandies to fruit infusions, the power is in your hands-and kitchen.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Today, just about any flavored beer a person could dream up already exists in a can, from micheladas to shandies to, yes, pickle beers. But there’s still much to be said for the DIY versions of these dressed-up beers.

For one, they’re fresher (you could squeeze your own lemonade for a shandy right this instant). For another, they’re customizable: spiciness, fruit choice, how strong you’d like the final drink to be-all those are in your hands. And perhaps more importantly, they’re fun. Whether you want to spend two minutes constructing a beer-lemonade shandy or spend an hour infusing your IPA with real chunks of pineapple, there are plenty of ways to get creative in gussying up your beer this summer.

Embrace red beer

A brunch staple across the western half of the U.S., “red beer” is essentially a stripped-down michelada: just your preferred light lager of choice, plus tomato juice. But the devil’s in the details-folks can get mighty particular about their red beer specifications.

My preference is Coors Light with just a splash of Campbell’s tomato juice. It’s a pet peeve of mine when bartenders go too heavy on the tomato juice; it’s called red beer after all, not tomato juice. To make this yourself, start with your light lager of choice, then add just a splash of tomato juice so that the beer has a strong orange hue. Sip, taste, and add more if necessary.

Upgrade your salt rim

Another component of some micheladas, salt rims are more versatile than they might seem-and they complement several styles of beer. Just coat the rim of a beer glass with lime juice or water, then dunk the glass in a shallow dish of salt. Try the following combos:

• Mexican lager with a Tajin rim: Try substituting Tajin seasoning for straight salt for a bit of a chilli-lime kick. Pair this with a red beer for a michelada-like vibe.
• Gose with a herbal-salt rim: Goses are a beer style with a light salinity already, so pouring them in a glass rimmed with a rosemary salt or basil salt can add an additional flavour that doesn’t clash. Try mixing and matching fruited goses with herbal salts-how about a watermelon gose with a basil-salt rim?
• Dark lager with a smoked salt rim: Smoked salt is a surprisingly versatile ingredient because it’s way less powerful than liquid smoke. Try a dark lager (like Modelo Negro or a bock) in a glass rimmed with smoked salt for a subtle campfire vibe.

Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images

No shame in a shandy

Radlers and shandies are often used interchangeably to refer to a light-coloured beer blended with fruit juice (typically lemonade or grapefruit). Packaged versions exist, but with so many fruit-flavoured non-alcoholic beverages on the market, it’s worth playing around with some creative combos in your own kitchen. A good rule of thumb is to start light with the base beer, either a pale lager, cream ale, blonde ale, or (if you’re really a hop head) a pale ale. From there, most people blend in a splash of their favourite juice.

But here’s my preference: Use a fruit-flavoured soda. I find that adding straight fruit juice to beer often makes it too sweet and a bit flat. A high-quality fruit-flavoured soda, like the ones from Sanpellegrino, adds carbonation and fruit flavour with too much sweetness. Also, go easy on the ratio of soda to beer to start, because you can always add more soda. I find a ratio of about one part soda to three parts beer is ideal.

Infuse your beer with fruit

Your French press isn’t only for coffee-it can also act as a device for infusing fruit or other flavours into beer. If you end up with a bumper crop of strawberries or melons from the farmer’s market, this is a great way to use them.

1. Start with a new or perfectly clean French press to avoid coffee flavour leaching into your beer (unless that’s what you’re after).
2. Pour in your beer of choice. Almost any style could work here: light lagers, blonde ales, saisons, IPAs, even porters and stouts. Pour the beer into the French press, leaving a couple inches empty at the top.
3. Add some cut-up fruit. The possibilities are limitless: porter and raspberry, IPA and pineapple, blonde ale and mango, wheat beer and oranges, saison and cherries…
4. Allow the fruit to infuse. How long to leave the beer in contact with the fruit is up to you, knowing that the longer the mixture sits, the more pronounced the flavours will be. Start with 10 minutes, push the plunger down slightly, pour and taste some of the beer, and wait longer for a more intense flavour.
5. Push the plunger down all the way. Pour your infused beer into a glass and enjoy!

Make a mighty michelada shrub

Micheladas are typically a mixture of Mexican lager, lime juice, tomato juice, and salt. But recently, premixed michelada shrubs (like those from Pacific Pickle Works and Real de Oaxaca) have popped up, adding some vinegar tartness and other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and spices to the mix.

A shrub combines vinegar with fruit or, sometimes, vegetables, and they’re easy to experiment with at home. Michael Dietsch, author of Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, suggests that if you’re creating a shrub to mix with beer and tomatoes, beginning with a base of apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar (to match the malt in beer) plus lime is a smart start. From there, savoury additions like soy sauce will lend a Bloody Mary feel-just be sure to use a light hand with those umami-packed additions. Because vinegar and soy or Worcestershire sauce are tangy and savoury, Dietsch notes that you may want to add just a pinch of sugar to your shrub for balance.

From there, the sky’s the limit. Swap apple cider for white balsamic if you’re feeling bold, or add orange juice as well as lime. But regardless of what ingredients you use, Dietsch says it’s important to let a shrub sit and mellow for a couple days before using it. That time will let the intensity of the vinegar mellow and will ensure all the flavours meld together in perfect harmony. Once the shrub has sat a few days, give it a taste, then add a few splashes of it to your favourite Mexican lager.

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Kate Bernot is a certified BJCP judge and freelance reporter whose work regularly appears in Craft Beer & Brewing, Thrillist, and Good Beer Hunting. Follow her at @kbernot.

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