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Winter is Coming: Best Cafes in Syracuse to Reset

Winter is Coming: Best Cafes in Syracuse to Reset

It’s that time again, the onset of winter combines with the dread of final exams making this the perfect time to scope out the best cafes to get a cup of coffee in Syracuse.

We divided the Syracuse area into 3 hotspots for coffee: Downtown, Westcott Nation, and the SU Hill area. We focused on independently owned coffee shops because a nice neighborhood café makes for a great quality of life.

Downtown Syracuse

best cafes in downtown syracuse

best cafes in downtown syracuse

Cafe Kubal is well-known in the Syracuse area, with shops in both the downtown and university area. The cafe on Salina Street is a large space and a great location, which can be busy at times, but people love the place.

 “I really adore their dark roast and baked food, and their retro style. It’s really comfortable, sweet and absolutely friendly to everybody” said Kai (no last name given). He recommends sitting by the large windows with their nice street view and enjoying time with friends.

Freedom of Espresso is another cozy place. This old-school coffee shop offers great coffee and wonderful atmosphere. When you walk in you can directly see the unique charm of local cafes distinctive from big chains. The art on display in Freedom of Espresso is perfectly concentrated in this small space by those delicate decorations and lovely pictures. After a day hanging out in Armory Square, it’s relaxing to sit here sipping a cup of coffee and reading a book.

If you want to have a classic meal with coffee, Phoebe’s Restaurant & Coffee Lounge is a great choice. This small but exquisite restaurant has delicious food and good service. It can be a wonderful place to both enjoy your own time and help to create happy memories with people you love.

Westcott Nation

Best cafes in Westcott street

Best cafes in Westcott street

Recess Coffee is probably the most popular choice in the area, not only for the atmosphere, but also for the coffee and food. With homemade granola bars, eggnog lattes, and classic espresso drinks, this is a perfect place for any type of coffee drinker. Recess has all the right elements for a comfortable hang out place, and is based on a clear mission that includes social responsibility by serving organic coffee and more. It’s a very cozy place to have a drink and a conversation with a friend, or to study. This is one of the busier coffee shops on Wescott, so if you if you need quiet to concentrate, avoid peak hours like 8:00 a.m. through noon.

Picasso’s Pastries and Cafe is another option, a cozy bakery where you can get coffee provided by Cafe Kubal and can choose from several pastry options. If you’re more of a pastry person, Picasso’s has the widest variety of options including chocolate chip scones, dark chocolate banana donuts, brown buttered pumpkin donuts, and many more.

MelloVelo is a hidden treasure in that area, on the surface, a bike shop. The special thing about the shop is that they  have a cafe too. They serve a nice cup of coffee with a unique, sporty ambiance. If your bike needs some tuning, it is the perfect place to wait for it to be finished, and that is probably why MelloVelo is there!

The SU Hill

Best cafes in SU campus.

Best cafes in SU campus.

Probably the biggest and most popular around the University area is Cafe Kubal, located right in the student lifestyle hotspot: Marshall Square. It is a coffee house where you can sit, relax and have a nice conversation. Their banana cake is from another world. But if you don’t feel like sitting, you can walk around in their in-house store, 3fifteen, where they sell clothes, gadgets and all kinds of other stuff.

In Hendricks Chapel, on the quad there is another hidden treasure: People’s Place. It is located on the lower level of the chapel. It is a student-run coffee bar with a very artsy, European vibe. The reason why we list this place as one of the best cafes in Syracuse is that its space is small but cosy and their coffee and muffins are of great quality.

If you are looking for more than just a coffee and a muffin, you should know about Funk ‘N Waffles, where they offer a large selection of waffles and other dishes to go with your espresso or caffeine based drink, often with some live music in the background. Whichever coffee bar you choose, you will end up with a great cup of coffee in your hands.

The 9 best cafes in three different areas all have their fascinating attractions and we hope it can bring you warmth and comfort in this winter.

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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