Long waits and harsh lighting are just two inconveniences that can plague a standard trip to the post office. The process leaves little room for relaxation, let alone time to kick back and enjoy a freshly made latte. That's what Sip and Ship hopes to remedy. The family-owned business combines two different worlds—the post office and a coffee shop—into an operation that runs as smoothly as its coffee goes down.
The process is both friendly and simple: customers bring in items they need to send far away, such a piece of art, an old-fashioned letter, or a cursed monkey's paw. The Sip and Ship team wraps, packs, and ships it—all while customers wind down with organic, locally roasted drinks and homemade cookies and scones. In between all the sipping and shipping, customers can squeeze in some shopping, too; the store stocks its shelves with bottled wine, bath products, and even children's toys.
Set in a brick carriage house in the heart of West Seattle’s Junction neighborhood, Hotwire Online Coffeehouse dishes up more than just a great cappuccino and quick morning muffins. Custom coffee creations rotate with the seasons, and customers can enjoy fifteen minutes of free work time at the small shop’s bank of computers with every beverage purchase. New this year, patrons can also belly up to the in-house “Helios Bar” for a free 15-minute hit of light therapy, an antidote that pairs well with caffeine for combating Seattle’s lengthy rainy season. Busy commuters can also text in coffee orders for maximal time efficiency, but why rush away? In summer, Hotwire’s compact outdoor patio is a great place to pause with pooches or strollers over a steaming cup of joe before tackling the rest of the day.
"Hip" and "kid-friendly" aren't often adjectives that go together, but Rebecca changed all that when she founded Twirl Caf?. A mother herself, Rebecca envisioned Twirl as a place where kids and adults could come to have fun in their own ways. For children, there?s a custom-built jungle tree house, which oversees a play area replete with a train table, a reading area, and a play kitchen. For adults, the caf? stocks coffee, espresso, and craft beers, and provides access to free Wi-Fi so guests can catch up on the news or send out urgent chain emails.
Another all-aged pleaser is the caf??s menu, which includes items made with locally sourced ingredients. Dishes include breakfast sandwiches on Macrina Country biscuits with nitrate-free bacon, eggs, and Tillamook cheddar or sweet grilled melts with cinnamon, raisins, and cream cheese. And, each week the caf? also serves a rotating menu of dinner specials, which can include anything from barbecue chicken sliders to butternut squash lasagna. Friday nights are the real draw though, when Twirl Caf? invites kids to don their PJs and adults to wear their comfiest usher costume for the weekly "pizza and a movie" night.
Named for the Hungarian word for chocolate in what one UPC Times writer calls “a nod to the Slavic history of the neighborhood,” kakao serves café drinks with a local bent and craft chocolate bars from chocolate makers such as Dandelion, Dick Taylor, and Lillie Belle. Baristas draw rich espresso from locally roasted Herkimer coffee beans and steep loose-leaf teas from Miro Tea. They also serve mochas and Ghirardelli and Valrhona hot chocolates—in flavors such as salted caramel or cardamom—from machines that swirl the drinks throughout the day, keeping them ready to pour. Conveniently, kakao complements its warm beverages with pastries from Le Panier and Macrina Bakery.
High ceilings with exposed beams hint at kakao’s warehouse past, but the space's soft track lighting and carefully selected furniture preclude the temptation to drop off a shipment of 10,000 fur coats for storage. Free WiFi also keeps patrons connected to the buzz of the Internet throughout visits.