15 Coffee Shops to Keep You Caffeinated in Wilmington, NC

Written by Jason Barnette
on March 15, 2022
- Updated 4 months ago

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

These local coffee shops are a great way to start a day exploring Wilmington.

Beaches, breweries, and the big battleship North Carolina. There are a lot of things to do in Wilmington. You’ll probably need an early morning jolt to keep you moving throughout the day. Spread throughout downtown and tucked inside beautiful buildings, local coffee shops roast their beans and serve them fresh with every coffee served.

Learn about these coffee shops and what to expect during your visit to the Cape Fear region. This list is in order of distance from downtown.

No. 01

Java Dog Coffee House

Java Dog Coffee House has been around longer than most coffee shops in Wilmington. It’s located inside The Cotton Exchange, a collection of buildings on Front Street cobbled together with connecting corridors and filled with local retail shops.

You can buy beans by the bag at the coffee shop or just go straight to your favorite hot or cold caffeinated drink. Carry it upstairs to the loft seating area, or head outside to the row of chairs perfect for people watching.

Inside Tip It might be tempting to grab a coffee to go and explore the various shops in The Cotton Exchange, however, many of the shops don’t allow food or drinks inside.

303 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-343-8890 | www.facebook.com/JavaDogCoffeeHouse

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The downtown location of Port City Java is one of the most beautiful.
No. 02

Port City Java

Port City Java “began waking up guests in 1995” with their first coffee shop located in downtown Wilmington. Since then, the franchise has grown to dozens of locations across eastern North Carolina. Since the beginning, the folks at PCJ have roasted their own coffee beans.

You’ll find a menu of hot and cold caffeinated drinks at each coffee shop, each made with freshly ground beans for the best flavor. Drip coffee, espresso, blended drinks, they even offer a small menu of smoothies and snack foods. At the downtown location, seating is plentiful at large tables with built-in outlets, armchairs, and outdoor metal tables. Feel like being a model for an hour? Two of the tables are in the curved glass displays straddling the entrance!

Inside Tip There are over a dozen Port City Java locations throughout Wilmington. Of course, the downtown location is a favorite, but all their locations are safe, comfortable, and perfect for some remote work.

21-A North Front Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-762-5282 | www.portcityjava.com

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No. 03

Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods

At the corner of Princess and 2nd in Wilmington’s downtown commercial district, Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods is a modern chic coffee shop perfect for sitting awhile. White walls are decorated with dark stained wood shelving, industrial lighting, and natural plants. Large windows allow sunlight to bathe the interior, creating an invigorating environment.

During the day, order a coffee and enjoy sitting at the bar or large tables to work. But in the evenings, the bar opens, and you’ll find local craft beers on tap. It’s the perfect place to start a day of remote work and finish with an evening of relaxation.

202 Princess St, Wilmington, NC | 910-769-4088 | http://bespokecoffeenc.com

READ MORE: The Churkeychanga – Why This Local Thanksgiving Tradition is Worth a Road Trip to Wilmington, North Carolina

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No. 04

24 South Coffee House

Less than a block from Market Street, 24 South Coffee House is in the middle of the downtown action. Inside, the cozy space is accented with a tin metal roof and hardwood floors. Comfortable leather chairs with wood frames, square tables, and wooden chairs build an atmosphere for remote work or relaxing with a fresh coffee.

24 South Coffee House doesn’t roast their own beans, but they find the best gourmet coffee for their drinks. Grinding them fresh for every coffee, you’ll be guaranteed a savory drink. Pick up a drip coffee, espresso, or baked good while exploring downtown.

24 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-815-3480 | www.facebook.com/24southcoffeehouse

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No. 05

Cheeky Monkey Coffee

In 2021, Maggie Blackham took her experience working in bakeries and coffee shops to the next level when she purchased Cheeky Monkey Coffee. Located in the City Market Shops, a collection of local retail businesses under the roof of a former waterfront warehouse, it’s the perfect location for foot traffic from the nearby Riverwalk.

Blackham roasts beans in small batches, and they’re ground fresh for every coffee served. Drip, pour over, and espresso are typical items on the menu. But Blackham enjoys adding new and old recipes like the Cinnamon French Toast Latte – an interesting blend of espresso and creamy cinnamon foam.

A few tables are scattered across the charcoal-colored concrete floor. A bar cuts across a large window, the perfect place to watch the slow traffic along South Front Street. It’s a comfortable place to sit for awhile, but the real enjoyment would be taking the coffee to go to the waterfront Riverwalk.

124 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-399-3621 | https://cheekymonkeycoffee.com

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No. 06

Luna Caffé

Once a bustling area of retail activity in the 1950s and 60s, Castle Street found new life that Our State magazine called the “arts and antiques district” of Wilmington. In 2013, UNC Wilmington alumni Will Chacon and Nina Hayhurst-Chacon added their business to the growing district when they opened Luna Caffé. You won’t miss this building – it has been wonderfully painted with a mural depicting stars and planets and a rocket powered by coffee beans.

Inside, concrete floors and exposed brick walls greet visitors into the 1930s commercial building. They use locally roasted beans and grind them fresh for every coffee served. The menu also includes frappes, tea, and smoothies. Sit inside at one of the eclectic tables or under the shade sails on the graveled patio behind the building.

604 Castle Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-232-2533 | www.lunacaffe.com

No. 07

Folks Café

Tammy and Juan Pacini moved to Wilmington in 2009. Just forty-five days later, they opened Folks Café on Princess Street. From the beginning, their goal was to create a friendly place to meet the locals while also providing fantastic coffee and savory empanadas.

The Pacinis roast their own beans in small batches, careful to pick from the best farms around the world. Drawing on their ancestry – Tammy is from Ecuador and Juan from Argentina – they added empanadas to the daily menu. It’s off the beaten path, about five minutes from downtown behind a high school. It would be the perfect place for a coffee, food, and remote work completely undisturbed.

1201 Princess Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-362-1448 | www.folkscafe.com

No. 08

Morning Glory Coffeehouse

Morning Glory Coffeehouse is a quirky place to find fresh coffee – and that’s precisely why you need to visit. Ten minutes from downtown Wilmington, the coffee shop serves caffeinated drinks, baked goods, and snack foods. A black and white checkered floor dominates the middle of the large space and is filled with comfortable tables and chairs.

Off to the side, a small projector screen hangs over a stage. Events are frequent in the coffee shops – chess on the weekends, live performances on Friday nights, and movie screenings.

1415 Dawson Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-622-2385 | www.facebook.com/morningglorycoffeehouse

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No. 09

Grinders Caffé

From the outside, Grinders Caffé looks like any other rental space in a shopping center with a flat corrugated metal awning hanging above large picture windows and a steel frame door. But inside, hardwood floors, black tables and chairs, and a comfortable leather sofa welcome people into a comfortable atmosphere perfect for remote work or just visiting.

Opened in 2011, the folks at Grinders Caffé use beans from Java Estate Roastery located about half an hour away in Hampstead. Drip coffee, espresso, frappes, and cold brews are made with freshly ground coffee for the best flavor. Choose from a small selection of baked goods and snacks to go along with the caffeinated drink, and you’ll be there for hours.

890 South Kerr Avenue #2b, Wilmington, NC | 910-859-8266 | http://grinderscaffe.com

No. 10

Spill Coffee & Roastery

A 1956 Chevy truck bed is parked in front of Spill Coffee & Roastery – and just the truck bed. A frame welded to the front with a towing hitch explains how the two-wheeled truck bed got around town. That’s how Tori Light and Amber Legates got into the coffee business – a mobile coffee cart.

When they moved to Wilmington, the pair opened a coffee shop along the busy corridor on College Road. Drip coffee, espresso, and iced coffee are served with locally roasted beans. The menu also includes house-made syrups for lattes and tea. Pink is the preferred color from the artwork on the walls and even the furniture. Armchairs, sofas, and tables with moderately comfortable chairs are inviting enough to keep you around for awhile.

1207 South Kerr Avenue Suite 1, Wilmington, NC | 910-833-7020 | https://spillcoffeeco.com

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No. 11

Lucky Joe Craft Coffee Shop

You won’t find hot coffee at Lucky Joe Craft Coffee Shop. That’s because they went all-in on the nitro coffee trend – cold-brewed coffee infused with nitrogen gas. The result is a chilled coffee with a creamy foam head and a richer flavor than traditional coffee.

Inside the large coffee shop, dark carpet and a black ceiling are offset by natural light flooding through floor-to-ceiling windows. Beautiful natural wood tables and wooden chairs with thin cushioned seats are perfect for hanging around for awhile. You’ll find an armchair and sofa in the corner – get there early to stake your claim.

1414 College Road Suite A, Wilmington, NC | 910-742-0053 | http://luckyjoecraftcoffee.com

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No. 12

Social Coffee and Supply Co.

In 2017, husband and wife Giovanni and Rachel Ellzey took their mobile coffee cart to the next level when they moved into a permanent location on Wrightsville Avenue. The one-story house was built in 1969 and previously served as a café before the Ellzey’s bought it for their coffee shop. After hard work, they transformed it into a cozy and gorgeous place to spend a few hours.

A covered porch greets visitors as they pull around back for parking. Inside, hardwood floors are covered with tables and comfortable chairs. Outside, patio seating is available for those comfy spring and autumn days. The menu features hot and cold coffee, drip coffee, and espresso made with beans from around the world.

5317 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington, NC | 910-408-6238 | www.socialcoffeesupply.com

No. 13

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

When Amy Wright’s two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, were born with Down Syndrome, she became a lifelong advocate for finding people with developmental disabilities a job in society. Frustrated by a lack of options, in 2016, she opened a coffee shop in the corner of a car dealership.

Since then, her business has grown. A new, permanent location on the dealership’s property was built for the coffee shop with volunteer labor and donated materials. The curved roof leading to a towering interior creates a cavernous space comfortable for anyone to spend awhile.

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People with disabilities work hard behind the counter. After taking an order, patrons are given a poker card. When their card is called, it’s time to pick up your order!

Pro Travel Tip Yes, the coffee shop is at a car dealership. Flow Cadillac of Wilmington. The coffee shop is in the front corner of the property with the name on the front of the building.

4949 New Centre Drive, Wilmington, NC | 910-769-1252 | www.bittyandbeauscoffee.com

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No. 14

The Complex Bean Coffee Bar and Bakery

In 2015, UNC Wilmington alum Elizabeth James opened a coffee shop referencing the nature of coffee beans – The Complex Bean Coffee Bar and Bakery. The out-of-the-way coffee shop is a cozy retreat with mocha-colored concrete floors, a tin metal roof, and a few comfortable tables and chairs. James serves Counter Culture beans, a Raleigh-based roaster that has expanded across the country in recent years, brewing up drip coffee, espresso, latte, and kombucha.

2307 A, North College Road, Wilmington, NC | 910-769-7665 | www.thecomplexbean.com

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No. 15

Casa Blanca Coffee Roasters

Marissa Ruehle is a self-confessed workaholic – but she’s a passionate workaholic. Long before she enjoyed the benefits of coffee, she loved the coffee shop atmosphere. In 2019, she opened her own location in the coffee shop industry with Casa Blanca Coffee Roasters. Moving into a white stucco 1956 house, visitors can get a glimpse into the coffee bean roasting process while waiting for their favorite brew.

Ruehle sources beans from all over the world, roasts them in small batches, and grinds them fresh for every coffee served. Drip coffee, pour over, Chemex – she knows how to make a great coffee. Inside, mocha-colored beams contrast against white walls and a white tile floor. Square tables with moderately comfortable chairs will keep you working for hours.

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But the biggest surprise is the stunning patio behind the coffee shop. Brick pavers are covered in the shade from a white trellis. Ridiculously comfortable outdoor furniture and picnic tables await your arrival. With the bulk of the building blocking the noise from Market Street, it’s the perfect place to relax for awhile.

7409 Market Street, Wilmington, NC | 910-821-0639 | www.casablancacoffee.co

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