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December 21, 2015

Best Philadelphia cafes for lounging (or working) all day long

Sit and stay a while at these friendly destinations

Restaurants Cafes
OCF Coffeehouse Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

OCF Coffee House in Fairmount offers Square One coffee, a full lunch menu and a spacious interior. It's one of several OCF Coffee House locations in the city.

Philadelphia is steeped in coffee shops. Even though the city’s filled to the brim, new ones still pop up seemingly every month. The cafés that survive do so for a reason: They serve a purpose unique to their own neighborhood. We’ve rounded up a few across the city that persist as perfect spots for plugging away all day at some work or simply indulging in a good book.

One Shot

One shot cafe
(Handout Art/One Shot Cafe)

This airy, bi-level java spot offers plenty of cozy nooks for settling down, whether it be tableside by the windows overlooking Northern Liberties or on one of the couches next to the upstairs library. Start with a coffee and be sure to stay for brunch. The unique menu often features lots of avocado-topped options and house-made pastries, too.

217 W. George St.


Whether you prefer to relax with a board game in the sunlit upstairs or knock out some work in the notably quiet basement area, Chapterhouse provides a roomy refuge just off South Street. Grab a cup of the organic, fair-trade coffee; you can refill it for just $1 if you plan on sticking around.

620 S. 9th St.


Aaron Ultimo with Mural
Aaron Ultimo with his shop's new mural, created by artist and Free People designer Kris Chau. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

There’s no better spot to hang when you want to first fuel up on caffeine and knock out some work, and then follow it up with a beer to reward yourself. Ultimo and Brew share a cafe in Newbold that allows you to carry this out in one welcoming, window-lit location. Ultimo offers both drip and hand-poured coffee from Counter Culture, while Brew offers both bottles to go and an array of local and international drafts on tap. Plan it right, and you can snag yourself a spot at one of Brew’s free monthly tastings, too. Visit their website for the dates.

1900 S. 15th St.

La Colombe Fishtown 

For the serious studier or the reader who wishes to wipe out all virtual distractions, La Colombe is the café to visit. Sure, there’s a lot to divert your attention here, with art that bedecks the large brick wall at the front of the room, and plenty of people-watching to be had in the bustling scene. However, unlike the other café recommendations on this list, La Colombe is a Wi-Fi-free space. In other words, don’t come here if you plan on moving through your email list. But if you need to knock out some studying, writing or reading and don’t want the evil temptations of Facebook and YouTube videos on your laptop, this high-ceilinged setting is perfect. Start with an espresso. Stay for a few, and then finish with a pour of the sipping rum made from the in-house distillery.

1335 Frankford Ave.

OCF Coffee House Fairmount

OCF Coffeehouse
OCF Coffee House in Fairmount offers Square One coffee, a full lunch menu and a spacious interior. It's one of several OCF Coffee House locations in the city. (Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice)

You’ll find lots of freelancers, students and entrepreneurs camped out at this spacious coffee shop. The simple, industrial décor provides an inviting space for work or for simply grabbing a meal from a menu packed with sandwiches, salads and vegetarian-friendly options. Long, wooden communal tables line the back room so that you can avoid feeling cramped up and in fear of spilling your cup of coffee. Try their dirty chai if in need of an all-day boost.

2100 Fairmount Ave.

Good Karma 

If you need a place to meet, unwind or work into the later hours of the night, all three locations of Good Karma keep their doors open until 10 p.m. Their shops, crafting coffee drinks made from organic and fair-trade Equal Exchange beans, can be found at Fitler Square, Society Hill and the Schuylkill Banks area of Center City. Hit up the Fitler Square location at 22nd and Pine if you seek a space with some outdoor room. A few tables surrounded by brick and ivy sit out back, offering a sunny spot to lounge in the summer months and a place to catch some fresh air all year round.

331 S. 22nd St. | 928 Pine St. | 2319 Walnut St.

Front Street

Front Street Cafe
(Joshua Lee Mallory/Front Street Cafe)

Fishtown’s new farm-to-table café brings plenty of room to stretch out and hang. On the top floor, you’ll find a quiet, bright space filled with wooden tables adorned with plants and a couch that overlooks a bookshelf filled with reading material. Grab a coffee, draft kombucha, “Pina Kaleada” or a nourishing juice before settling in. Then, when you’re ready for a bite to eat, consider wandering downstairs to hit up the main dining room. If flying solo, grab a seat at the sleek, ash-colored concrete bar and choose from a menu filled with healthy, yet comfort-styled food options. There are plenty of choices for all dietary preferences, including vegan eggs benedict with smoky mushroom bacon, gluten-free bagels and cornbread muffins and meatier selections like the apple cider braised chicken. 

1253 N. Front St.