The concept of the coffee house dates back to the second half of the 15th century in Constantinople. Though Constantinople didn't survive, the coffee shop did, exported from what's now Istanbul through Europe and eventually to England, whose colonists brought the concept to the New World. The American coffee shop is as old as America itself, and the best cafes are — and always have been — more than just a place to sip coffee, but about showcasing the arts, cultivating a sense of community, and giving an outlet for ideas and expressions ranging from politics to poetry. In celebration of International Coffee Day on Sept. 29, here are some coffee shops that capture the spirit perfectly, even if these days some are waiting for a coronavirus vaccine to really get percolating again.
Note: While many coffee shops are closed to in-person dining due to state and local orders for social distancing, many of those are offering outdoor seating and takeout options as an temporary alternative. Be sure to call ahead to confirm before visiting.