Independent Coffee Shops for a Festival Refuel

Seven artisanal java houses worth checking out

Jo's Coffee (Photo by Jessica Attie / Courtesy of Jo's Coffee)

SXSW is a whirlwind of a week, so attendees often find themselves in need of a caffeinated pick-me-up. Luckily, Downtown Austin and its nearby neighborhoods are chock-full of independent coffee shops with beans roasted locally. Be sure to check out these artisanal java houses.

Idlewild Coffee

When it comes to sheer convenience, it’s tough to beat an indie coffee bar located right at SXSW headquarters. Idlewild Coffee is a locally owned coffee purveyor that brews top-notch coffee and espresso (their cold brew and lattes are especially noteworthy), and their SXSW outpost features strong WiFi and a vibey space with plenty of sofas and electrical outlets. A perfect place to reenergize before (or during) a busy SXSW day.

1400 Lavaca,


Mañana in the South Congress Hotel consistently ranks among South Austin’s most acclaimed coffee shops, thanks to its impeccable brews and fresh baked goods. SXSWers will be glad to know that they no longer need to schlep down to South Congress to enjoy the Mañana experience, since the shop has opened a second location, Mañana Dos, right in the Seaholm District.

1603 S. Congress Ave., 111 Sandra Muraida Way,

Jo’s Coffee

It’s hard to think of a coffee shop that’s more closely associated with Austin than Jo’s Coffee. This hometown hero has been keeping Austinites caffeine-fueled for 25 years, and their Downtown location is an easy place to grab a coffee (and a breakfast taco – Jo’s also excels on that front) in the midst of SXSW madness.

242 W. Second, 1300 S. Congress,

Merit Coffee

Celebrated San Antonio roastery Merit Coffee has made a major impression on Austin java fiends since opening its Downtown location in 2018. Merit meticulously sources beans from South America and Central America, uses specialty equipment to roast them in Texas, and trains baristas to maximize the coffee’s natural flavors with careful and shortcut-free brewing processes. Discerning coffee nerds shouldn’t miss a visit to Merit at Seaholm or to the South Austin outpost located across the street from the Alamo Drafthouse.

222 West Ave., 1105 S. Lamar,

Houndstooth Coffee (Photo by John Anderson)

Houndstooth Coffee

With friendly and skilled baristas and a vibrant menu of seasonal specialties, and a convenient location, Houndstooth Coffee is a favorite among Austin office workers, Downtown residents, and SXSW visitors. Houndstooth is coming up on their 14th anniversary, which is a true testament to their ability to connect with their community and with coffee lovers in general.

401 Congress,

Civil Goat

The UT campus is a prime locale for potent and flavorful coffee drinks (college students need their energy boosts, after all!), and Civil Goat on Guadalupe is arguably the best of the UT-adjacent coffee haunts. They’re a specialty roaster that imports beans from Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and their barista team makes drinks that fully live up to the beans’ potential. Don’t miss their deeply flavorful nitro cold brew, and if you find yourself hungry during your visit, dig into one of their fruit-loaded acai bowls or savory toasts.

3423 Guadalupe,

Terrible Love

Austin is a food truck town, and that theme also extends to our city’s coffee landscape. If you’re looking to experience a more neighborhood vibe, head to Hyde Park, just 3.5 miles north of SXSW HQ. There, you’ll find Terrible Love, a tiny but mighty coffee truck with playful seasonal lattes, reliably excellent cold brew and espresso, and warm and genuine hospitality.

3908 Ave. B,

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SXSW 2024, Idlewild, Manana, Merit Coffee, Jo’s Coffee, Houndstooth Coffee, Civil Goat, Terrible Love

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