They've become community havens — places where relationships are carefully fostered, where laptop warriors hunker down for hours, and where a genuine, unrushed feeling of home pervades.
During the pandemic, business has changed for many coffee spots, and they're fighting to stay alive after altering operations to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
Among them is specialty-coffee heavyweight Panther. On a typical day at its Wynwood location, folks from all artsy walks of life can be seen spilling out onto the shop's urban patio. These days, gathering is simply not allowed, but the company is finding ways to persevere.
"It's definitely a different feel," Panther cofounder Leticia Pollock says. "It's interesting... we'll see a couple of folks doing yoga out there, and that's about it. Otherwise, it's empty and everyone is six feet apart and in line, waiting for their takeout drinks."
Panther operates six shops throughout Miami-Dade, all of which remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m daily. Among its initiatives, the company is selling gift cards on Amazon, and 100 percent of the proceeds go to its baristas.
Plus, to help mitigate fees from third-party delivery services, the company has developed its own Panther Coffee app (available for Apple and Android devices) for ordering ahead and express pickup. And for homebrewers, the company continues its online bean sales and has even experienced a slight uptick thanks to the stay-at-home environment.
"It's definitely a challenge for everyone... that would be the understatement of the year," Pollock says. "But our main focus is to maintain our jobs on the team and serve our community in a different way."
Vice City Bean, whose primary location sits in the Arts & Entertainment District, has implemented its own online ordering system and is offering more menu items, such as an espresso milkshake and expanded breakfast options. According to co-owner Roland Baker, the shop closed for six days at the beginning of the county-wide shutdown but is now open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily with a limited staff.
"We're trying to be that bedrock coffee shop that is there through thick and thin," Baker says. "When you walk in, you'll still get that standard friendliness, and we want you to be comfortable."
In addition to its Arts & Entertainment District flagship, Vice City Bean's outpost inside the Citadel food hall recently opened Thursday through Sunday on a limited schedule, as did a handful of other vendors there. At its two locations, Vice City Bean has trimmed its total staffing from 13 to three but hopes to bring back as many employees as soon as possible.
Many local coffee staples remain open for a morning jolt or late-day pick-me-up. Below are nine of them.
Please note: Though these shops are open as of publication, it's a good idea to call ahead to confirm any schedule changes. Delivery areas and charges may vary, so check with delivery services or the restaurants directly if applicable.
Alaska Coffee Roasting. The North Miami roaster and shop is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Its drive-thru opens at 7 a.m. Sunday hours vary. Order through Postmates, Slice, Grubhub, and DoorDash. 13130 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami; 786-332-4254; acrcmiami.com.
All Day. The specialty coffee shop in the heart of Miami is open for takeout and delivery. Place orders through its new site, alldayaway.com. Pickup and delivery hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 1035 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-699-3447; alldaymia.com.
Circle House Coffee. The Fort Lauderdale coffeehouse's drive-thru is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Delivery is available via Postmates and DoorDash. 727 NE Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-870-6456; circlehousecoffee.com.
Eternity Coffee Roasters. The downtown Miami roaster/café is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Delivery is available through DoorDash and Postmates. Online coffee bean orders of $50 or more get free shipping. 117 SE Second Ave., Miami; 305-926-8298; eternitycoffeeroasters.com.
Grind Coffee Project. The specialty coffee mainstay in Fort Lauderdale is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on weekends. Takeout and call-ahead orders can be made through squareup.com. 599 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-290-6074; grindcoffeeproject.com.
Panther Coffee. All locations of the Miami-based specialty coffee institution are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Order and prepay through the Panther Coffee app (available in the Apple and Android stores) or delivery through Uber Eats. 2390 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-677-3952; panthercoffee.com. Additional locations in Little Haiti, MiMo District, Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, and W Miami lobby.
Per'La Specialty Roasters and House of Per'la. The Coral Gables roaster/café is open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Orders can be place only through its website or by phone. Online orders of coffee beans receive free shipping. 2626 Ponce de Leon Blvd., #3, Coral Gables; 305-909-0932; drinkperla.com.
Vice City Bean. The Miami coffee shop is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Online ordering and pickup are available through square.com. 1657 N. Miami Ave., Unit C, Miami; 305-726-8031; vicecitybean.square.site. Additional location inside the Citadel (8300 NE Second Ave., Miami).
Wells Coffee Company. The roaster and coffee shop based in Fort Lauderdale's Flagler Village is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The GoFundMe campaign "Don't Let Wells Go Dry," set up to help sustain operations, has a $25,000 goal. Delivery is available through DoorDash. 737 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-982-2886; wellscoffees.com.