Second Helpings: Coffeehouses

Where to get coffee that is "really more like Al Green than coffee" and other mysteries of Austin coffeehouses.

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Chronicle writer Greg Beets. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Cafe Mundi

1704 E. Fifth, 236-8634

Mon, 8am-5pm; Tue-Thu, 8am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 8am-midnight; Sun, 9am-3pm

Cafe Mundi is a cozy little haven off the beaten path, the kind of place that attracts a clientele of regulars who relish their few moments of peace in a place they feel privileged to have discovered. Their coffee is a changing affair, with Ethiopian beans taking the spotlight one day and a stout Latin American blend claiming it the next. In addition to a selection of bagels and sweets -- among them the delectable cosmic dreambar -- the cafe offers a limited lunch menu.

Flipnotics Coffeespace

1601 Barton Springs Road, 482-8533

Mon-Thu, 7am-midnight; Fri-Sat, 7am-1am; Sun, 8am-midnight

The tranquil porch at Flipnotics is a fine place to drink coffee and ponder the meaning of life with a trusted friend. It's also a great place to see live, acoustic music without choking on smoke. In addition to coffee, Flipnotics also sells beer, juice, and a tasty assortment of baked goods. Be sure to check out the vintage clothes shop downstairs, too.

Ruta Maya Coffee House

218 W. Fourth, 472-9637

Sun-Thu, 7am-1am; Fri-Sat, 7am-2am

Now one of the older coffee joints in town, Ruta Maya uses its warehouse space for real-life industrial activity -- roasting its own coffees for local restaurants, homegrown groceries, and on-site enjoyment. It's literally one big room that's taken on the best trappings of a multifunction entertainment complex, with weathered tables and an elevated stage for nightly live music. Ruta Maya and Cubita coffees and coffee drinks share the bill with bagels, pastries, Cuban sandwiches, and ice cream.

Mojo's Daily Grind

2714 Guadalupe, 477-6656

Daily, 24 hours

Not too many people remember that the house at 2714 Guadalupe once housed a shady-looking dentist's office, which is a fine testament to Mojo's 24-hour popularity. Their war against

corporate coffee is endearing to the slacker-types who haven't yet been priced out of town, but Mojo's also delivers good coffee, espresso, and cafe au lait. If you're hungry, try the baklava or pizza.

Spider House

2908 Fruth, 480-9562

Mon-Thu, 7am-1am; Fri-Sat, 7am-2am

A coffeehouse with the emphasis on house, this cozy old North Campus bungalow serves coffee drinks, juice, and beer as well as a small, eclectic menu in a comfortably shabby atmosphere. The patio and nicely landscaped yard are pleasant places to do some coffee-enhanced studying, watch a play, or listen to poetry readings and live music.

Little City Espresso Bar & Roasting Co.

3403 Guadalupe, 467-BEAN

Mon-Fri, 7am-midnight; Sat-Sun, 8am-midnight

916 Congress, 476-CITY

Mon-Fri, 8am-midnight; Sat, 9am-midnight; Sun, 9am-10pm

Sixth & Lamar (inside BookPeople), 472-5050

Daily, 9am-11pm

Little City serves some of the city's finest coffee using fresh roasted beans from Central America, Indonesia, and East Africa. They describe their Top Shelf Blend as "really more like Al Green than coffee," which sounds pretty stimulating to me. Happy Hour, during which all coffee, espresso drinks, and fruit frappés are half-off, runs from 5-7pm every weekday. Little City also has a good selection of baked goods, and the downtown location serves up several delectable varieties of salads and sandwiches.

Flightpath Coffeehouse

5011 Duval, 458-4472

Daily, 8:30am-midnight

Though the sound of jets thundering overhead at low altitudes is now a thing of the past at Flightpath, this Hyde Park coffee shop has become something of a community cornerstone. Flightpath's economical coffee and relaxed, sit-and-stay-awhile atmosphere makes it a prime spot for reading or studying. In addition to coffee drinks, you can sate your sweet tooth with a brownie or pastry.

Bouldin Creek Coffee House & Cafe

1501 S. First, 416-1601

Mon-Thu, 7am-10pm; Fri, 7am-12am; Sat, 9am-12am; Sun, 9am-10pm

This inviting Travis Heights haunt features a funky lime-green exterior and an interior that's probably more homey than the place you sleep. Pick up a book, play Battleship, and enjoy all your favorite coffee drinks along with some killer honey lemonade. Bouldin Creek also has a small, economical vegetarian menu featuring all-day breakfast, salads, sandwiches, beans, collard greens, and homemade cornbread.

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