Favorite Coffee Shops in the West

More than a place to get a cup of joe, these spots foster a sense of community.

A latte and scone at Lighthouse Coffee Shop in Sparks, Nevada.
Lighthouse Coffee Shop in Sparks, Nevada.
Asa Gilmore

January/February 2022 Issue

Lighthouse Coffee in Sparks, Nevada, is perfect to enjoy a latte and some fresh-baked goodies, and for meeting up with friends. The Prinz family is passionate about coffee and very welcoming at both of their locations. All of their coffee is organic and fair trade, sourced from Guatemala and then roasted in Reno. They offer seasonal specials and recently introduced cold brews.” —Karen Fleischmann

The Revue, in Fresno’s historic tower district, is a long-standing fixture. Their baristas do a great job making whatever drink you order. It is also a cool place to hang out with friends. Not to mention the art shows—it’s part of Fresno’s Art Hop, among other local art events.” —David Lewis

“The best coffee shop is Nell’s in Rock Springs, Wyoming. It is a small hut that has great drinks and great prices, and the amazing food comes in large servings.” —Sarah Page

“I highly recommend taking some time to appreciate S’bastians Coffee in Redwood City, California. It’s a perfect stop before a day indoors, or before a road trip onto Highway 84.” —Karen Grajeda

A barista makes a pour over coffee at Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View, California.

Pour over coffee at Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View, California.

Helynn Ospina

Red Rock Coffee in downtown Mountain View, California, serves excellent espresso drinks, chai, and a great cuppa joe. It has two stories of seating in a beautiful building from the turn of the century—one of the last ones in town! The shop was rescued by an anonymous buyer in the middle of the pandemic to preserve this wonderful community asset. The shop hosts a free open mic every Monday, arguably the best in the Bay Area, and has for a decade and a half. People working from home, on first dates, pitching meetings, having job interviews, plus families and dogs and neighbors all frequent this great place.” —Jean Boulanger

Philz Coffee, a local San Francisco chain, makes the best coffee with the most excellent taste. Peet’s Coffee—a Berkeley, California, original—has Gaia organic whole beans, perfect for taking home to brew.” —Bonnie Richards

Saddlecreek Coffee is locally owned and locally managed with amazing coffee and delicious eats, plus it contributes to the neighborhood. The best coffee shop in Phoenix.” —Sandra Gilligan

Kind Bean in Chandler, Arizona, is my favorite local coffee shop. I’m always greeted by name, and have a choice of beautiful homemade pastries, a variety of coffee, and many milk options.” —Sara Cowen

“Locally-owned Coffee Bandits in downtown Merced, California, is right next to the historic Merced Theatre and people often go there after a show. Started by UC Merced students, it has that college hang-out vibe. Sit inside or on the sidewalk to enjoy your cup of coffee.” —Maxwell Norton

Outside Dr. Insomniacs in Novato, California.

Dr. Insomniac's Fine Coffee, Tea, Smoothies & Cafe in Novato, California.

Catherine Karnow

“My favorite coffee shop is Dr. Insomniac’s, a quaint coffee shop in Novato, California. Offerings include some of the best pastries and galettes. The personnel are super friendly and accommodating, and the prices are great too. It’s too far for a daily trip, but I go out of my way to stop when I'm heading down the road from my home in Santa Rosa—it’s always worth the time.” —Ron Parsons

“My favorite coffee shop is the Blue Ox Coffee in Westwood, California, up in Lassen County. When you walk in you are home. They have games, books, the owners have a wide variety of snacks and the best coffee drinks. You might be a guest once, but you are family from then on when you visit their shop.” —Terry Johnson

“They may not have chairs around a wood stove, but the Island Market in Logan, Utah, has just about everything else: local produce, specialty products crafted in town, and a wide selection of fresh coffee. It’s friendly, warm, and the coffee is always fresh.” —Bob Perry

“My all-time favorite local coffee shop is Jitters in Eagle River, Alaska. My favorite thing about it is not just the good coffee and treats but that at any one day or time it is full of a cross section of life in Alaska. At a corner table by the window might be a young college student working with her computer on a term paper. Over by the fireplace is an elderly, bearded gentleman reading a book as he sips his brew. Next to him is a round table occupied by young moms surrounded by little ones of all sizes laughing and enjoying each other. Tucked away in a nook are several middle-aged ladies quietly working on a Bible study together, and next to them a weary truck driver in his Carharts enjoying a hot cup of coffee and a muffin before heading back out for the long-haul drive to Fairbanks. All are scattered throughout a cozy environment created by a mismatch of antique tables and chairs and warm, welcoming staff.” —Janet Gill