Eight coffee shops made for reading

Pair steaming brews with great reads at these eight neighborhood cafes.

Rimsky-Korsakoffee HouseSpend a cozy evening at late-night coffee shop Rimsky-Korsakoffee House.
  • No categories
  • Walking Distance Guide
    = 1 mile (1.6 km)
    = 0.5 mile (0.8 km)
    Click Me
    Holly Feral

    Portland’s love for books and local coffee is a year-round affair, but when the winter weather arrives, it’s hard to imagine a more enticing rainy-day activity than combining the two. Pick up a winning read at one of Portland’s many independent bookstores and curl up in a cozy corner of one of these eight local coffee shops.

    Southeast Portland

    Rocking Frog

    The roaring fireplace, cushy armchairs and bookshelf-lined nooks at Rocking Frog Café are perfect for settling in with a sci-fi anthology — especially when accompanied by a plate of housemade donuts. The brief menu of elegant but approachable sandwiches toes the artisanal line with ingredient like figs, harissa and apples paired with walnuts.

    Find your book at: Future Dreams

    Oblique Coffee Roasters

    Adorned with an antique piano and reclaimed wood furnishings, Oblique Coffee Roasters sports a cozy vintage vibe sure to resonate with that classic novel you’ve been meaning to read. Between chapters, be sure to inspect the German-made cast iron roaster, affectionately nicknamed “Bart.”

    Find your book at: Powell’s Books on Hawthorne

    Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

    Rimsky-Korsakoffee House springs to life at 7 p.m., long after most other cafes have closed for the night. Draped with colorful lights along the walls and dangling from the ceiling, it’s like peeking inside a carnival big tent. Inside tip: For the best reading light, score a table by the piano.

    Find your book at: Mother Foucault’s Bookshop

    Southeast Grind

    One of Portland’s few 24-hour coffee shops, late-night haunt Southeast Grind has all you need to keep your eyes peeled: smoothies, sandwiches, salads and strong pots of local Marigold Coffee. So, what story’s going to keep you all night? We suggest penning the first lines of your own novel — hopefully the plot involves coffee.

    Find your book at: Longfellows Books

    Northwest Portland

    Dragonfly Coffee House

    A cozy little coffee shop on the northeast edge of the Alphabet District, Dragonfly Coffee House is tinged with gold and lined with mythical creature-inspired knickknacks. The whimsical atmosphere creates a sense of magic and mystery that makes for an opportune setting to bust out that Mystical Mandala coloring book.

    Find your book at: New Renaissance Bookshop

    Northeast Portland

    Townshend’s Tea

    The menu at Townshend’s Alberta Street Teahouse abounds with expert tea blends of black, green, white, oolong, rooibos, chai and maté with aromatic herbs. Get your caffeine on with a candy cap latte or a cinnamon orange sencha while cozying up with a fine art book on one of the couches in the semi-secret Townshend basement. (Take note, coffee addicts: There’s no java here, but they allow food and drinks in from their neighbors at Back to Eden Bakery.)

    Find your book at: Monograph Bookwerks

    North Portland

    Albina Press

    Clean white walls contrast against dark, seasoned wood in minimalist North Portland café Albina Press. Once you’ve ordered a foamy latte or full French press from the award-winning baristas, grab a bright seat near the window and reach for your favorite minimalist prose or graphic novel.

    Find your book at: Bridge City Comics


    With an appropriately literary name, Coffeehouse-Five is a quirky neighborhood cafe offering big windows for plenty of light and a generally mellow atmosphere, thanks to its popularity with studying students from nearby Portland Community College. Sip a carefully crafted latte while you read feminist greats like Simone de Beauvoir or Audre Lorde.

    Find your book at: In Other Words

    Mentioned in this Article