The Coffee Shop Coziness Index: Capitol Hill, Part I

If you thought coziness was a subjective, indefinable quality… well, you’re right, but that’s not going to stop us from trying to measure it.

Barista Cecelia Meserve makes a latte at Thump Coffee on 13th Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Coffee and a book inside Pablo's Coffee on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) snow; weather; cowx; cozy; coffee shop; capitol hill; food; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty
Coffee and a book inside Pablo’s Coffee on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

If you thought coziness was a subjective, indefinable quality… well, you’re right, but that’s not going to stop us from trying to measure it. We’re visiting Denver coffee shops, cafés and tea houses neighborhood by neighborhood to do it.

We’ll award points in several categories: Temperature, comfortable seating, decor, music and menu. Shops can earn bonus points for things like having a working fireplace. To be as fair as possible about the temperature, your intrepid reporter will wear the same thing to every spot.

This week, we got good and caffeinated in Capitol Hill.

Pablo’s Coffee

1300 Pennsylvania St., #102

Avery Turman works inside Pablo's Coffee on Pennsylvania Avenue at 13th Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) coffee shop; capitol hill; food; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Avery Turman works inside Pablo’s Coffee on Pennsylvania Avenue at 13th Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Full disclosure: I got my coffee here almost every day for two years when it was on my way to work and still visit somewhat regularly.

The seating at the Pablo’s on 13th Avenue and Pennsylania Street is not particularly comfortable, but freedom from obligation sure is cozy. That’s right, there’s no wifi there, and the lack of it adds to coziness. No, you probably can’t have a pleasant day of freelancing there, but it makes it much more homey when tables are occupied by people chatting or reading. If you really get bored, you can take in the variety of local art that covers the walls.

Plus, the coffee is excellent and the staff is very friendly. I could have gone to another coffee shop on my way to work every day for two years, but I stuck with this one.

Temperature: 10
Comfy seats: 3
Decor: 8
Music: 9
Menu: 9 (delicious, but not a huge variety)
Bonus: 1 for the lesser chance of one person taking up a four-person table.

Total score: 40

Thump Coffee

1201 E. 13th Ave.

Deven Parker (left) and Jordan Finegan work inside Thump Coffee on 13th Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) coffee shop; capitol hill; food; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Deven Parker (left) and Jordan Finegan work inside Thump Coffee on 13th Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Thump is the kind of coffee shop that refuses to make cappuccinos in more than one tiny size, and getting up multiple times to order more when you could just have one big one is not very cozy.

That said, the atmosphere is very cozy. It’s warm, the wood-and-brick interior is inviting and the indie folk and rock is unintrusive and there’s a cluster of cushy couches and chairs in the back.

On the other hand,  most of the rest of the seating is at long communal tables, which, as I’ve said before, can be cozy under the right circumstances and uncomfortable under the wrong circumstances.

Temperature: 9
Comfy seats: 6
Decor: 9
Music: 10
Menu:
Bonus: 0

Total score: 41

Black Eye Coffee Cap Hill

800 Sherman St.

Gregg Gonzales (left) sits at the bar inside Black Eye Coffee on Sherman Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) coffee shop; capitol hill; food; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty;
Gregg Gonzales (left) sits at the bar inside Black Eye Coffee on Sherman Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Black Eye Coffee should really have “cafe” in its name, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s white tiled floors, brass and polished wood give off a strong modern French cafe vibe.

There’s plenty of cushioned booth seating, though the backless, flat metal seats at the communal table don’t encourage you to stay too long. The music was a little loud, but probably only to compete with the chatter (and I was very pleased to notice it was Grimes). The place bustles even on a weekday. Some very lucky people were ordering tasty-looking Bloody Marys late Friday morning and the full food menu looks great.

I’m already making plans to return for brunch.

Temperature: 10
Comfy seats: 9
Decor: 8
Music: 7
Menu: 10
Bonus: +2 for booze beyond beer and wine

Total score: 46

Coming soon in Cap Hill, Part II: Roostercat, Drip and Amethyst.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.