ADVENTURER | CAROLINE HOROWITZ
Lattes in Las Vegas: The Beat Coffeehouse and Records
What happens when you combine a coffeehouse with a record store, art gallery, and bar? You get The Beat, a downtown Las Vegas hangout that sells vinyl albums, coffee, food, beer, and cocktails.
Attached to the Emergency Arts gallery, The Beat invites customers to peruse works by local artists, shop for records, and attend open mic and trivia nights. At 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, The Beat becomes a bar. The beer taps face the espresso machines, and the turntable next to the cash register add to the eclectic atmosphere. “We don't do a lot of super-fancy coffees, just good coffee and real food made with ingredients, not frozen and pre-made,” managing partner Jennifer Cornthwaite says.
The interior is downtown chic, with concrete floors, wooden furniture, old couches, and groups of 20-somethings hovering over their drinks and chatting animatedly. “The Beat is really a hub,” Cornthwaite adds. “It's the place people meet and hang out. The people are what make it; we just try and provide the best neighborhood feel that we can.”
The old-fashioned-looking exterior at Coffee Pub conceals some of the best coffee and friendliest servers in Las Vegas. More of a restaurant than a coffee shop, the Pub is close to the Strip and has been serving patrons since 1984.
It’s only open until 3 p.m. (2 p.m. on weekends) but offers full breakfast and lunch menus and a smoothie bar with a variety of coffee options, including frozen drinks made with blended espresso, non-dairy gelato, and numerous flavor options. Their spin on a caramel macchiato is frothy and satisfying, but the house blend is a rich and savory way to caffeinate as well.
The generous sizes and reasonable prices are welcome perks. Better still are the conversational and kind staff members, who are attentive and know regulars by name. One waitress even engaged me in a discussion about the book I was reading: Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace. Coincidentally, she had read another book penned by Wallace.
Those who live close by don’t even have to stop in—Coffee Pub delivers within a two-mile radius.
The Madhouse Coffee
Part of the allure of The MadHouse is that it’s open 24 hours—a serious plus in a city that never sleeps. “If you come here at night, you’ll really see it busy,” says owner Marco Prestia.
The best word to describe this Summerlin night owl is funky, from its colorful décor and seating to a sign at the door that reads: “Please no outside food, drinks, drugs, or nuclear weapons.” Coffee items that stand out include blended drinks, such as the Red Velvet Mocha, which combines the flavors of coffee and red velvet cake without being overly sugary. Its bright red color is a bit startling to see in a coffee cup, but it just adds to the personality of the shop.
Coffee purists needn’t worry—the menu is full of traditional caffeinated beverages, too. The MadHouse has a convenient drive-thru and also serves sandwiches and a variety of desserts and pastries that are baked and prepared in-house. Peppy music, paintings, and modern art splash the place with a little extra funk.
In addition to the original Madhouse on Desert Inn Road, a second location on Eastern Avenue ensures coffee crusaders all over the Las Vegas Valley can get their fix.
It’s not uncommon to find every table at Sambalatte Torrefazione—and there are many—occupied, even on a weekday afternoon. In business for two-plus years, it’s become a hot spot to caffeinate. Owner Luiz Oliveira attributes the success to several factors, including high-quality products from local vendors. Its central location in the trendy Boca Park shopping area doesn’t hurt either, he says.
Sambalatte prepares coffee in a variety of ways, such as coffee extraction, which is used to make iced coffee through a cold drip that takes 12 hours. “It’s time-consuming, but the process removes all of the acidity and bitterness in the coffee and leaves a completely smooth drink,” Oliveira says.
Aside from the delicious coffee, there are ample reasons for patrons to linger. Sambalatte offers couches, café tables, a long wooden table with electrical outlets for laptops and chargers, a balcony with a flat-screen TV and bookcases, and an outside patio that even has water bowls for canine companions. The shop’s Nutella latte is one of its most popular drinks. Oliveira got the idea from his home country of Brazil, where Nutella is a prominent food item. The latte version is creamy and has just the right amount of chocolate and peanut butter flavors.