There are those days when you just need some caffeine. Like today, frankly. Coming off a three-day weekend, I was up way too late trying to squeeze in some work after bedtime, and now I have a long list of things I want to get done, plus plan my son’s first soccer practice. Other days, you might need a place to meet up with a friend in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, or need a place to escape the house if you work from home.
A few years ago, we started a series called Bullet Point Coffee Shop Reviews. At the time, Catherine was consoling herself with the loss of her “old Austin” favorites, Cafe Mundi and Little City, and she was on a mission to explore new-to-her places and provide you with a quick overview. As a service to you, our loyal readers, and because we are still looking for excuses to get out of the house, we are bringing these reviews back. If you have any suggestions, please let us know in the comments or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine and I needed to meet up to talk about the editorial calendar, and a friend recently had mentioned that Epoch Coffee reminded her of “old Austin”. I always seem to forget about this sleepy part of North Loop, so I was glad for the excuse to give it a try.
- Nice tunes. No piped in Musak here. Real music fans selecting great music and playing it on the record player.
- Open 24 hours. Not that it matters too much to me now, but in case you are jonesing for some coffee at 3am.
- Plenty of food options. Veggie pizza slices from East Side Pies, sandwiches, wraps, empanadas and baked goods on the menu. We met right before lunch, so I didn’t try anything out, but there was plenty to choose from.
- Indoor and outdoor seating. There was plenty of seating, both indoor and out. While I understand why it happens, it’s still frustrating when you make the effort of driving to a coffee shop, only to find there is no seating.
- Plenty of outlets. We sat at the counter and there were plenty of plugs available for our laptops. You never know if there will be enough plugs at places which have been around, with older construction.
- Friendly staff. I guess it’s probably the exception rather than the norm that people are friendly, but it’s still worth mentioning.
- “Old Austin” is right. The entire reason we checked out Epoch was because I was crowdsourcing on Facebook on an article I was writing about Halcyon. I couldn’t remember what the former coffee shop was (how could I forget – the original Ruta Maya?!) Many other native and longtime Austinites began to remember “old school” Austin hangout spots, and that’s how Epoch came up. I agree that it has a distinctive Austin vibe: laid back, unpretentious and friendly.
- Head next door for some vintage finds. I wish I had more time, as I’ve heard that Blue Velvet, located right next door, is a great place to find vintage and retro clothing and accessories.
- Ample parking lot can not be enough, depending on when you go. Nobody wants to spend hours searching for parking to get a cup of coffee. There is a big lot for the tenants of Highland Plaza but you might need to park across the street, since some spots are reserved for Blue Velvet and the record shop.
- Make sure you are at the right Epoch. This is no fault of Epoch, but when I plugged it into my GPS, I ended up at the Epoch Circa 13 Coffee House next to Alamo Drafthouse on Anderson Lane. They are owned by the same people, and the place on Anderson Lane is nice and bright, but the original location on North Loop is definitely what I was looking for to get that true “old Austin” vibe. I didn’t stay to check out the Anderson location, but I ended up being almost half an hour late to meet Catherine, since I went to the wrong place. Doh. So, if you are meeting someone at Epoch, make sure it’s the right Epoch.
- It can get busy and a bit noisy. If you are looking for a quiet spot with no distractions, this probably isn’t your place. We had no problem meeting and chatting amongst ourselves, but if you are looking for a place you can hear a pin drop, you might want to head to the library.
Check it out and let us know what you think. Where is your favorite coffee shop in the Austin area?
221 W. North Loop Blvd.
*Disclosure: LiveMom was not compensated to write this review. All food and beverage products consumed during this review were purchased by LiveMom.
If you like coffee, here are some other reviews in the series:
- Monkey Nest Coffee
- Texas French Bread
- Corona Cafe
- Thunderbird Coffee
- Walton’s Fancy and Staple
- The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf