Everything you can drink instead of a pumpkin spice latte

All you need to know about the coffee shops near Grounds


Try Hot Cakes at Barracks.

Marlena Becker | Cavalier Daily

Fall is finally upon us, and a hot drink in your hands is the best solution to the cold temperatures. If you agree, but are not basic enough to walk into class with a venti pumpkin spice latte, don’t worry — there are tons of alternatives close to Grounds. 

On the Corner


Grit Coffee

Located in what appears to be an old house, Grit’s aesthetic is absolutely adorable. With everything from creative chalkings to comfy vintage couches, the vibe is the perfect combination of trendy and cozy. The espresso bar and a few tables are on the ground floor, and the entire upstairs is a study space and is usually pretty quiet. If you need a change of scenery after being in the library all day, I would definitely recommend trying out Grit. The shop uses Trager Brothers Coffee, which is both organic and local. The line moves quickly, and the drinks are always delicious — plus the latte art is off the charts. 

Words of Wisdom — Don’t go to Grit if you’re starving. Usually by the end of the day, they only have one or two questionable looking pastries. 

Corner Joes

Shenandoah Joe (Corner Joe)

Located on West Main St. near Arch’s Frozen Yogurt and Cafe Caturra, Shenandoah Joe — creatively nicknamed Corner Joe — is pleasantly tucked away from the bustle of the Corner. If you’re a fan of all things local, then Shenandoah Joe is the place for you. They roast all of their 25 blends right here in Charlottesville. The Corner location has a full espresso bar, as well as an impressive selection of loose leaf tea. The building is very cozy and a great place to study. However, it is a pretty small place — so don’t be surprised if you can’t find a seat. Corner Joe feels like the perfect escape from whatever is stressing you out. Stop by the next time you need a break and a coffee named after the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Words of Wisdom — Splurge and try a pour over — drip coffee made to order. This is one of the few places you can get them — and apparently, true coffee connoisseurs can taste a huge difference.

Oakhurst Inn Cafe and Espresso Bar 

Not technically on the Corner, Oakhurst is located just off the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Emmet and is an absolute hidden gem! As a hotel cafe with a full-service espresso bar, Oakhurst allows you to grab a latte to go or to sit in the cozy dining room and work. Serving the same delicious Trager Brothers Coffee and espresso as Grit, the drinks are excellent, and they make the chai in-house! The homemade bacon gruyère scones are also a must — get there early enough, and they will still be warm. Oakhurst is the best place to go when you have class in 30 minutes, but want to feel hours away from Grounds. 

Words of Wisdom — Go for brunch. As nice as it is to stop by for a coffee, to get the true Oakhurst experience, you must try the food. Believe me, you will not regret it.  

At Barracks Road


Sometimes it’s nice to go out into the “real world” for a few hours, and HotCakes offers the perfect escape. Serving Shenandoah Joe coffee and equipped with a full espresso bar, the drinks are reliable — if not amazing — and the Nutella latte is especially good! HotCakes also offers a variety of delicious food — think fancy deli. It’s ideal if you’re going to be studying through breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are lots of different seating options, including a new outdoor patio. You’ll hardly ever have a problem finding a place to spread out and get comfortable. If you’re heading to Barracks, go ahead and make a day of it at HotCakes.

Words of Wisdom — They have University specials! Show your student ID, and ask about the specials of the month. You can usually snag a free drink or dessert if you spend the right amount of money. 



If you have never been to an actual Greenberry’s coffee shop, please try out this one. As much as I rely on the Greenberry’s in both Alderman and Clark — and feel utterly blessed not to be drinking dining hall coffee — going to the location at Barracks Road is a completely different experience. Although the coffee is technically the same, I find all the drinks to be just a little bit better at the “real” Greenberry’s. Here, cozy music plays and lots of arm chairs abound, making those seven readings you’ve put off until Sunday afternoon just a little more tolerable. 

Words of Wisdom — Try the iced green tea, or “Sport Tea,” as they call it. It’s the perfect drink for when you need caffeine, but cannot rationalize having a fourth cup of coffee. Added bonus — it’s delicious. 

Take some time this fall to explore all of these great options around Grounds. Pick the one you like best, and soon you will realize there’s nothing better than being a regular at your favorite coffee shop.

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