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Tampa Bay coffee shops: Good spots for the last drops

Are you a java junkie in need of a hip place to get your jolt of goodness? We've found nine cool Tampa Bay coffee shops that we'd hang out in any day. Compiled by Leigh Armstrong, Times staff writer

Tre Amici @ The Bunker: Coffee house? Wine bar? Music venue? All three actually. This well-appointed gathering spot is the perfect place to recharge while out and about the streets of Ybor. The vibe is similar to that giant, corporate mega-coffee chain, but with a lot more street cred. It also features a songwriter's night on Thursdays and live music on Fridays. 1907 19th St. N, Ybor City, (813) 247-6964. Mon.-Tue. 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Globe: Ask anyone in St. Petersburg what their favorite place to grab a cup of joe is and the Globe will be the most common answer. With it's indie art decor and classic postcards, the Globe has been a mainstay for the 'burg's underground culture for nine years. And no wonder. Proprietor and chief barista JoEllen Schilke has long been a fixture on the local arts scene through her WMNF show, Art in Your Ear. 532 First Ave. N, St Petersburg; (727) 898-5282. Mon.-Thur. 11 a.m.-1 a.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sat. 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Cafe Bohemia: "The BoHo" is more of an experience than just a place to grab a cappuccino. With indie films shown weekly and live shows out in the expansive courtyard, it's quickly gaining a reputation as a great new spot for the Tampa Bay free-thinker. 937 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, (727) 895-4495. Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-midnight; Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Java Nirvana: Gulfport's own twist on the coffee cafe is as wild and colorful as Gulfport itself. While the indoor area is sparse, the outdoor seating makes up for it with comfortable chairs and a stage for live music. 2908 1/2 Beach Blvd., Gulfport, (727) 323-5904. Mon.-Wed. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thur.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sacred Grounds: You can't have a coffee shop list and not mention this stalwart. This gay-friendly spot has been a haven for USF students needing a break from their mid-terms for years. Combine that with a killer open-mic night and you have a great alternative for people who'd rather skip the Tampa bar scene. 4819 E Busch Blvd., Tampa, (813) 983-0837. Sun.-Thur. 6 p.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat. 6 p.m.-2 a.m.

Insomniac's Coffee Lounge: Why did no one think of a 24-hour coffee shop before? This place is packed to the brim with fun activities like pool tables and big screen TV to keep you occupied while you watch the sun rise. Plus, they sell an infinitely refillable cup that could prove to be very cost-efficient over an eight hour visit. 4319 U.S. 19, New Port Richey. (727) 326-7847.

Cafe Hey: While it's newer, Cafe Hey has a distinct style that makes it stand out. It mixes the idea of a traditional coffee shop with oriental influence and a lot of independent and abstract art. Considering its location, it's one of the easiest to overlook jewels of Tampa. 1540 N Franklin St,, Tampa, (813) 221-5150. Tue.-Fri. 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Al Aqsa Coffee House: Al Aqsa may not look as chic as the others on this list, but it oozes so much charm that it makes up for it. Though they serve good coffee, the biggest draw is its selection of hookahs that you can share with friends while you have some java and play cards. While other places have latched on to the hookah craze, Al Aqsa gets points here for its authenticity. 10819 N 56th St,, Tampa, (813) 988-0222. Mon.-Sat. 1 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.-2 a.m.

Kahwa Coffee Roasting: True coffee snobs know that freshness counts. What could be fresher than a shop roasting its own beans? Kahwa creates its own blends right in St. Petersburg for distribution to coffee shops and direct to consumers. They've now opened their own retail cafe for java-lovers who want a cup on-the-go or out on the patio. Stylish and sophisticated, it's quickly becoming the hippest spot to be seen relaxing in the sunshine. 475 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-4700. Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Tampa Bay coffee shops: Good spots for the last drops 01/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 1:24pm]
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