Since opening in 2009, Local Coffee has been the standard bearer for the San Antonio third wave and specialty coffee movement. Over the past seven years, our city's coffee scene has really bloomed (coffee pun intended) and much of the credit for that goes to Local. Most of the newer coffee shops in town have owners who cut their teeth at Local.
What was once a single outpost in Stone Oak has become the epicenter for the coffee community in the Alamo City. Now, with the February opening of their fourth cafe location in the Medical Center (7338 Louis Pasteur Drive, 210-267-5494), Robby Grubbs and his team of skilled coffee enthusiasts are bringing their product to a whole new audience.
The new Local has attracted its loyal base while also introducing its product and culture to a whole new clientele. For a frequent flyer of Local's other locations, the first thing you'll notice here is the crowd. Gone are the 20- and 30-something freelancers buried in their computers. In their place you'll find students buried in textbooks (plus the elusive hot doctor). But while there may be a new crowd at this Local, the vibe is still as strong as ever.
We're going to make a bold statement here, but this Local is by far the most beautifully designed. Upon entering, the high ceilings and airy feel make the space feel open. You can't throw a rock without hitting some amazing detail in this place (please, don't actually throw any rocks). The room is so clean and bright, with lots of windows pouring in sunlight, sleek concrete floors, gold accents and white marble galore. (Side note: two of our biggest obsessions in life are gold and marble, so this place was kind of like a wet dream for us.)
The central hub for coffee-making magic is the gorgeous bar in the center of the space. A gold-framed pastry case is filled with treats from Bakery Lorraine, which is about to open their second location in the same shopping center — just so you know. After admiring the baked goodies, let your eyes wander upward to the insanely stunning menu board.
Evoking the feel of a vintage suitcase, the menu is composed of a backlit box wrapped in gold that's suspended from the ceiling. All of the machinery in this Local is unreal, with a gold tap for their iced coffee, custom pour-over stands and a Mod Bar espresso machine that is effing crazy.
Two giant speakers pump the tunes that fill their air, with playlists from alt to hip-hop. Sorry, but you won't find the typical coffee shop crooners like Michael Bublé or Norah Jones playing here. Tables and benches line the main space, with a lounge spot in the back, counter seating and a standing bar with leather foot rests in the middle. It's the perfect example of form meeting function; a space that can accommodate its customers while still being extraordinarily beautiful and unique.
Now, we know this ain't Architectural Digest, so let's talk coffee, which Local does like no one else. Going strong in Southtown for over a year now, Local's sister company Merit supplies the coffee for all their shops, and the beans are most definitely the stars of the show here. From capps to cortados, you can't go wrong with any of their offerings. Addiction to Local's iced coffee is a real thing, so the cold brew flowing from their gold tap is perfection. As always, there are great options for tea drinkers, too, with various hot and cold blends and yummy chai. And, of course, all of these drinks taste even better with the aforementioned Bakery Lorraine snackage.
In addition to the top-notch products, what makes Local so great is the people who work there. You won't find any pretentious baristas in their shops, just legitimately cool dudes who you end up shooting the shit with while the espresso's dripping. It's no surprise that once someone starts going to Local they're hooked for good. We most definitely are.
Timmins and Rodriguez are punnily eating their way through San Antonio's expanding food scene. Find them at eatitb.com.
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