Top 5 Coffee Houses in San Diego

The top 5 coffee houses you must visit in San Diego
This post on top 5 coffee houses in San Diego has been sponsored by Go San Diego, all opinions and experiences are my own.

Top 5 Coffee Houses in San Diego

The top 5 coffee houses you must visit in San Diego

Most of the time when you consider travelling somewhere, you take a look at the main typical tourist destinations, outdoor wonders, and even the top eateries. Something that is always a part of my trip planning however, are going to coffee houses! Stopping at coffee houses are one of the best parts about visiting a new city, in my opinion. Not only because I’m a coffee fanatic (I’m drinking coffee as I write this), but because visiting local coffee houses are one of the best ways to experience the culture and society of different cities.

Most cities’ independent coffee houses source their beans locally, meaning when you travel to different coffee houses you will always get a slightly different taste experience. If you’re travelling for business, coffee houses provide the perfect location to do work and have meetings while also getting to be in a new, fun atmosphere and seeing a bit of the city. If you’re travelling for pleasure, coffee houses provide the perfect place to people watch, socialize with locals or have quiet time (whichever you’re in the mood for), and experience the city like a true resident.

One of my favorite cities for coffee house exploration is San Diego, CA. It’s the second largest city in California and is quite spread out, yet has a very down-to-earth feel. San Diego has a huge variety of coffee houses throughout their different districts, some modern, some more traditional, and some even Victorian-style! If you’re going to be visiting this beautiful city, be sure to check out my top 5 favorite coffee houses in San Diego:


5. Heartwork Coffee Bar

Heartwork Coffee Bar is located in San Diego’s Mission Hills Neighborhood. It has a very calming, minimalist atmosphere:


Heartwork is the perfect setting if you’re looking to clear your mind, study, and maybe indulge in an afternoon treat! Aside from having incredible, locally produced coffee, they also have some pretty epic concoctions like their vegan Horchata ice cream served as an affogato.


Of course atmosphere and food are two crucial factors for a great coffee house, but what’s particularly special about Heartwork Coffee Bar is their genuine passion for community. The bar is operated by a close-knit group of couples and friends, and are the definition of San Diego pride, whether it be prepping for welcoming San Diego Comic Con crowds:

Or sporting a rainbow flag, representing San Diego’s diverse and accepting community values:



Take every opportunity to be kind and love one another.

A photo posted by Heartwork Coffee Bar (@heartworkcoffeebar) on


Heartwork Coffee Bar is a true gem that encompasses the feel of the San Diego community in one simple, clean coffee house!


4. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters sports three locations: La Jolla, their roastery on Morena Blvd, and their Little Italy location (the one I’m most familiar with). This coffee house is very modern and bright, instantly putting a smile on anyone’s face who walks in the doors.



Early afternoon shot from @birdrockcoffeeroasters #cactus #littleitaly

A photo posted by EspressoYourLife (@espressoyourlife) on


From the white counters, the turquoise-blue chairs, and succulents everywhere you look, the atmosphere is perfect for a day date or girl’s afternoon out. The coffee house also is very eco-friendly, selling and brewing “green” coffee. Bird Rock Coffee Roasters also stays true to traditional coffee houses by frequently hosting open mic nights and having live acoustic accompaniment. And with how much they roast, you can be assured this shop knows their stuff when it comes to coffee:



Fully stocked and ready to roast! #mondaymadness #roastery

A photo posted by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (@birdrockcoffeeroasters) on



3. Lestat’s Coffee House

Lestat’s boasts four locations in San Diego, making it very easy to stop at when visiting the city; the main location being in Hillcrest. Lestat’s has a more bohemian, artsy coffee house-type feel. Their walls are covered with art, and their nights filled with music:



I love a cafe that caters to crowds all times of day, and Lestat’s offers not only pastries but salads, quiches, and sandwiches as well. And speaking of pastries, they have some pretty visually stunning and unique finds:



Lestat’s is definitely the place you need to go to fulfill your inner hippie or artist, and experience the culture of San Diego’s local artists.



2. Cafe Bassam

Cafe Bassam is a truly unique coffee house find! Located on 5th Ave, it feels a slice of 19th-century Europe has been transplanted in San Diego. This coffee house is filled with antiques, and just in traditional European cafe style also serves wine.



In addition to wine, this is another coffee house you can go to to get savory meals, as well.



Light Lunch! #coffeeaddict #healthychoices

A photo posted by Bobby Dixon (@bobbydixonpr) on


And as if the unique, antique decor, food, and alcohol selection wasn’t enough reason to make this a must-stop in San Diego, their latte art is stuff of Instagramming dreams:



1. Dark Horse Coffee

Dark Horse has three San Diego locations: Golden Hill, North Park, and the original in Normal Heights. I’m loving that it is becoming more of the independently-owned coffee house trend to serve up other artisan products in addition to coffee! Dark Horse also serves up ice cream:



@bearhandicecream is scooping ice cream at our golden hill location. The salted caramel is absolutely amazing. Come check it out!! 811 25th st

A photo posted by Dark Horse Coffee Roasters (@darkhorsecoffee) on


It’s perfect they’re partnering with other locally-produced food crafters, not only to help out other local businesses, but while you sit and have a strong cold brew the kids can be happy having some ice cream!

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, like Cafe Bassam is also very Instagram-worthy, serving mini vegan donuts (from Skinny Donuts) atop their cold drinks:



It’s Friday! Treat yourself to some @eatskinnydonuts and a cold brew. Thanks for the shot @sandiegopulse and @katsagun

A photo posted by Dark Horse Coffee Roasters (@darkhorsecoffee) on


Aside from clearly having small and local business pride through their various partnerships, Dark Horse is worth visiting for their quirky and pop culture-centric personality! Their artwork on their Instagram alone shows that this coffee house is eccentric and in tune with trends. And of course I fell majorly in love with Dark Horse through their Disney parody shirt:



Disney-themed shirts, donuts, coffee, and ice cream? What more can you want in a coffee house?


San Diego Coffee House Scene

These are just five of nearly endless independent coffee houses in San Diego, CA. You could make a whole self-guided coffee tasting tour in San Diego, if you so choose! No matter what atmosphere or type of food you want to have, there’s a coffee house for that.

If you want a modern coffee house, check out Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. If you want a minimalist environment, check out Heartwork. For the Bohemian artsy-type, Lestat’s is the place for you. For a more European coffee house where you can also sip on some wine while people watching, Cafe Bassam is a must-visit. And lastly, if you want quirky, hipster, and trendy, Dark House Coffee Roasters has my vote.

For additional San Diego travel tips and ideas, you can check out Go San Diego:

Go San Diego Website

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Go San Diego Google +

I hope you enjoyed my top 5 favorite coffee houses of San Diego, and would love to hear what some of your favorites are!

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