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Java Joints

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Live and Let Latté: Leah Creatura and Michael Drury at Georgiana Cafe on Pacific Avenue.

There are so many good places to get a cup of coffee in Santa Cruz that, suffice it to say, when if comes to the proper ambiance, not to mention foam-to-Java ratio, you can do a lot worse than in our little slice of heaven. Part of the reason for this, after all, is that to the true cafe denizen, the quality of the coffee is secondary to the people-watching opportunities--and in that regard, Santa Cruz is hard to beat. Whether near the ocean watching the beautiful bodies come and go, or on the Pacific Garden Mall watching the kids, street theater and various eccentrics, Santa Cruz is the moveable theater you attend after taking part in a moveable feast.

Just on or near the mall, for example, there are least eight decent brewers with the right atmosphere and espresso-charged menu to be worth at least an hour of people watching. Similar locales can be found in Capitola, Soquel, Aptos and all the various mountain burgs. Some are attached to bookstores, or overlook the beach, or have taken over old Victorians. At the university, there are several perfect cafe gems with just the right atmosphere for study, conversation, relaxation or the socializing that is indispensable to a well-rounded education. Each of these non-alcoholic watering holes takes advantage of Santa Cruz's perfect combination of sun, sand, redwoods and mountains in its own way.

Cafes are not like bookstores or cinemas--they do not compete for the same business. The more cafes there are in one place, the more people they draw to that area to enjoy them. So if you are looking for a regular place to hang, or just want to sit for a few minutes and watch the world go by, welcome to Santa Cruz. It doesn't get any better than here.
--John Yewell


Abouché--A popular King's Village Shopping Center meeting place before or after a movie. Mon.-Wed. 6am-10pm; Thu.-Fri. till 11pm; Sat. 7am-11pm; Sun. 8am-10pm.
226D Mount Hermon Rd., Scotts Valley (831/438-2224)

Aptos Coffee Roasting Co.--The same famous beans as the downtown Santa Cruz location, plus coffee merchandise and gifts; the place to slack for Aptos teens. Sun.-Thu. 6am-9pm; Fri.-Sat. till 11pm.
19 Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos (831/685-0100)

Beans Espresso Cafe--A small, colorful cafe provides the needed jolt of espresso before beginning the trek up Highway 9 to the San Lorenzo Valley. Mon.-Fri. 6am-6pm; Sat.-Sun. till 4pm.
901 River St., Santa Cruz (831/471-0963)

Bookworks Espresso Cafe--Coffees, pastries and bagels in a cozy corner of the bookstore. Mon.-Sat. 9am-8:30pm; Sun. 10am-4:30pm.
36 Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos (831/688-4554)

Cafe Pergolesi--Dr. Miller's vintage Victorian landmark offers espresso drinks and pastries, picturesque indoor study space and world-class people-watching outdoors on the rambling deck. Daily 8am-midnight.
418 Cedar St., Santa Cruz (831/426-1775)

Caffé Bene--The downtown cafe features locally roasted coffee beans, the full complement of espresso drinks, fine cigars and a couple of sidewalk tables--and a fiercely loyal clientele. Mon.-Sat. 6:30am-6pm.
1101 Cedar St., Santa Cruz (831/425-0441)

Capi's Coffee Express--Coffee and pastries. Mon.-Wed. 7am-1pm; Thu.-Sun. till 6pm.
311 Capitola Ave., Capitola (831/475-4745)

Capitola Book Cafe--Located inside the bookstore, the coffee bar serves cappuccino, salads, sandwiches and an array of deserts. Daily 8am-10:30pm.
1475 41st Ave., Capitola (831/462-4415)

Cefiro's Donuts & Espresso--Espresso drinks, coffee made with Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co. beans and warm, house-made donuts. Mon.-Fri. 5:30am-5pm; Sat.-Sun. 6:30am-5:30pm.
1222 Mission St., Santa Cruz (831/427-0406)

Chill Out Cafe--This surf-pastel-colored Pleasure Point hangout features espresso, coffee, teas and pastries in addition to full breakfasts and lunch items. Mon.-Fri. 6:30am-4:30pm; Sat-Sun 7am-3:30pm.
860 41st Ave., Santa Cruz (831/477-0543)

The Coffee House--A small but friendly cafe in an unexpected location that boasts the gamut of espresso drinks. Sun.-Fri. 6am-6pm; Sat. 7am-2pm.
1700 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz (831/831/476-8625)

Coffee Nine--Espresso, a variety of baked goods and lunch specials on the main drag in Ben Lomond. Mon.-Fri. 5:30am-8pm; Sat. 6am-8pm; Sun. 6am-6pm.
9505 Hwy. 9, Ben Lomond (831/336-4521)

Coffeetopia--Pastries, smoothies and sandwiches, beans from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting, as well as computers with Internet access and email. Daily 6am-9pm.
3701 Portola Dr., Santa Cruz (831/477-1940)

Combo Cafe--A sports-oriented cafe that pushes caffeine instead of alcohol. Two big-screen TVs, weekend barbecues and patio seating. Mon.-Fri. 5am-10pm; Sat.-Sun. 7am-7pm.
575-A Seventh Ave., Santa Cruz (831/462-2646)

Cowell Coffee House--The cool spot at Cowell has salads and sandwiches, pizza on Fridays, and fresh baked breads and pastries. Fri.-Sat. 7:45am-4pm; Sun-Thu. 8-midnight.
Cowell College, UCSC (831/459-2710)

Espresso Rio--Sandwiches, pastries, juices and coffee in a neighborhood hangout. Daily 6:30am-8pm.
113 The Esplanade, Rio Del Mar (831/685-9550)

Espresso Royale Caffe--Espresso, soup, sandwiches and pastries in the space old-timers remember as Lulu Carpenter's saloon. Sidewalk seating or tables in the brick courtyard in back. Daily 7am-midnight.
1545 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/429-9804)

The Farm Bakery & Cafe--Indoor/outdoor seating with gourmet sandwiches, quiche and desserts--a lunch-time oasis for Cabrillo College students, staff and faculty. Daily 7am-7:30pm; Sun. till 6pm.
6790 Soquel Ave., Aptos (831/684-0266)

Full of Beans--Breakfast and light lunch, with tables outdoors in the courtyard. Mon.-Fri. 6:30am-5pm; Sat.-Sun. 7am-6pm.
10 Seascape Village, Aptos (831/685-2120)

Georgiana Cafe--This cafe connected to Bookshop Santa Cruz has a variety of Ristorante Avanti-made lunch items, from salads to lasagna. Sidewalk seating makes sippers park of the ongoing Mall pageant. Sun.-Thu. 8am-10pm; Fri.-Sat. 8am-11am.
1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/427-9900)

Herland Women's Book-Cafe--Salads and veggie burgers accompany coffee drinks and juices in the women-friendly book and gift shop. Daily 10am-6pm.
902 Center St., Santa Cruz (831/429-6641)

Howling Cow--Espresso specialties, salads and sandwiches under the redwoods. Mon.-Fri. 8am-10pm. Closed on weekends.
Kresge College, UCSC (831/429-6606)

Hungry Slug--The funky, welcoming character of Porter College's coffeehouse can be traced to its namesake: the ubiquitous banana slug. Mon.-Thu. 7:45am-midnight; Fri. till 9pm; Sat.-Sun. 4pm-10pm.
Porter College, UCSC (831/427-2608)

Jahva House--The cavernous old State Electric shop now houses a roomy, plant-filled cafe with every imaginable variation on coffee-related beverages. Couches, study tables and a sunny back patio. Daily 6am-midnight; Sat. from 7am; Sun. from 8am.
120 Union St., Santa Cruz (831/459-9876)

Java Junction--Organic coffees, fruit juices and smoothies, bagels and muffins, and patio seating next door to the Seabright Brewery. Mon.-Thu. 6:30am-11pm; Fri.-Sun. 6:30am-midnight.
519 Seabright, Santa Cruz (831/423-5282)

Mad Jack's--Friendly spot for java junkies (especially because the ice cubes are made out of coffee--the better to avoid diluting iced caffeine doses). Daily 6am-8pm.
2-1505 East Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz (831/475-1051)

Mr. Toots Coffeehouse--Bohemian atmosphere overlooking the Capitola beach. Features desserts from local bakeries. Daily 7:30am-midnight.
221 The Esplanade, Capitola (475-3679)

Pacific Coffee Roasting Co.--An airy interior and a sunny patio complement specialty coffee drinks made with beans roasted on the premises, plus pastries, bagels and fresh-baked cookies. Can you spot the barista who also thrashes in local-band favorite Fury 66? Mon.-Fri. 6am-8pm; Sat. 6am-7pm; Sun. 7am-6pm.
7554 Soquel Dr., Aptos (831/685-2520)

Peet's Coffee & Tea--Coffee drinks, freshly roasted beans, coffee-related gifts and window seats that look out on the Mall. Mon.-Thu. 6:30-10pm; Sat. 7am-11pm; Sun. 7am-10pm.
1409 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/457-8170)

Rosie's Espresso Bar Cafe--The local shop offers lunch, gourmet chocolates and a sunny patio. Mon.-Fri. 6am-6pm; Sat. till 8pm.
Scotts Valley Junction, Scotts Valley (831/438-1735)

Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co.--This 20-year-old establishment has legendary daily coffee bean specials, a drip-brewed cup with enough caffeine to last the whole day, light meals, desserts and chocolate truffles. Sun.-Thu. 6am-11pm; Fri.-Sat. 6am-midnight.
Palomar Arcade, 1330 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/459-0100)

Sleepy Dragon Book Bistro--This small, bright Yacht Harbor venue serves espresso drinks, juices and bagels. Outdoor tables and chairs are steps from the beach. Daily 7am-7pm.
2222 East Cliff Dr., #2A, Santa Cruz (831/476-9136)

Starbucks--In addition to its coffee, the Seattle-based megachain sells coffee mugs, gifts, books and sweets. Daily 6am-11pm; Sat.-Sun. till midnight.
1335 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/459-7681)
1955 41st Ave., Capitola (831/464-8091)

Stevenson Coffeehouse--Couches, lots of table space, a terrace and an extensive menu distinguish this caffeine-fueled study hall and meeting place for UCSC types. Mon.-Fri. 7:30am-5pm; nightly 8pm-11:30pm.
Stevenson College, UCSC (831/459-2433)

Surf City Coffee Co.--Coffee (including a wide selection of frozen espresso treats), pastries, burritos, quiche and seasonal specialties, plus T-shirts and other merchandise; patio seating. Mon.-Sat. 6:30-9pm; Sun. 7am-7pm.
9105 Soquel Dr. Aptos (831/684-2750)
3070 Porter St., Soquel

Trout Gulch Coffee & Tea--A friendly fueling-up spot for Aptos locals, commuters and early birds. Daily 5:30am-6pm.
8043 Soquel Dr., Aptos (831/685-1236)

The Ugly Mug--Traditional fountain sodas, coffee, espresso and deli items in a historic building. Mon.-Sat. 6am-11pm; Sun. 7am-11pm.
4640 Soquel Dr., Soquel (831/477-1341)

Westside Coffee Co.--This light and spacious cafe serves deli items, homemade soups and freshly baked pastries. Daily 6am-8pm.
Safeway Center, 849 Almar Ave., Santa Cruz (831/427-1300)

The White Raven--Espresso drinks, teas and chai; patio in back. Mon.-Fri. 6am-7pm; Sat.-Sun. 7am-7pm.
6253 Hwy. 9, Felton (831/335-3611)

Whole Earth--Coffee specialties, hot entrees and organic salads in the heart of campus. Mon.-Fri. 7:30am-8pm, Sat-Sun. 8am-5pm.
Central campus, UCSC (831/426-8255)

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From the September 24-30, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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