Assignment: Stay on 16th Street. And, Find a Good Cup of Coffee.

Can you do it? It may not be as easy as you think. And, yes, we have our reasons for saying that.

Recently, a woman visiting from San Francisco and riding the Mall Shuttle asked if the 16th Street Mall had a Starbucks on every block. It seemed that way to her. That’s not the case, of course. In fact, there are only four along the Mall…out of the 18 or so Downtown.

And, to be fair, there’s not even a real coffee place on every block of the Mall. Along the 17 blocks between Broadway and Wewatta, we come up with just 13 or 14 places where you might go searching for a well made Espresso or Americano. And, only some of those places have the really necessary ingredients for the proper coffee experience…windows, tables, no rush, well-trained baristas, porcelain cups and their own “neighborhood within a neighborhood” feeling. And, really good coffee.

Some of these might be the most convenient for you, or your personal favorite, but there are others worth trying and you just might come away with a longer walk and better experience. Let’s start at Broadway.

In the first block,  on a darkish corner, we find Daz Bog. Then, before we get to Court, tucked back off the sidewalk is Aspen Coffee, complete with a Salad Bar?

Between Court and Tremont, two more choices. Starbucks and Peet’s. Years ago, Peet’s actually begat Starbucks, but that’s a long story. The story in Downtown Denver is that Peet’s is back, at the Sheraton. But, beware. While the coffee is truly Peet’s and very tasty, this is not a company-owned store. They don’t take the frequent Peet’s coupons and promotions, and they don’t use the same brewing system. A true Peetnik will definitely know the difference.

We can cross the street and have coffee in the Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Or, better yet, go to Cook’s Fresh Market and enjoy drinks crafted with ILLY coffee from Italy.

Between Glenarm and Welton, nowhere for that fix. But, the next block is anchored by INK!, with their popular Black & Tan Blend and modern digs.

Tucked away at the corner of 16th and Stout is Tuscany Coffee, but only on weekdays. Then you have to go all the way to corner of 16th and Curtis to find the next Starbucks. And, two more blocks to the next Starbucks at Writer Square. But, here the choice to have a French-style café served to you at the table of Crepes n’ Crepes is a pretty easy one to make.

Now, on down the Mall, (this, again) two blocks to the next Starbucks, at Blake. Your next stop is the iconic Tattered Cover Bookstore, truly filling the above mentioned “neighborhood” feeling. Loitering encouraged.

One more choice before you run out of Mall is the new little place by the EPA building, My Favorite Muffin. Yes, mostly muffins. But, coffee drinks, too, and friendly people…and tables with windows!

We just stayed on the Mall and found a little variety and a couple of special standouts. Of course, you can venture a block or two either way to Mangiamo Pronto for Italian Style, Common Grounds for the hangout and a beer with your coffee, or, The Market in Larimer Square for the ultimate “neighborhoodness”.

Coffee is a very personal thing. In taste. In place. In porcelain or paper. So…is the 16th Street Mall all a’buzz? Or, are we just full of beans?

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