Years ago when I lived in Wilmington there were hardly any coffee shops to enjoy, well besides Starbucks of course. The coffee culture that we know now hadn’t hit the Port City quite yet.
Now every time we visit family in Wilmington I’m shocked by the number of hip and delicious coffee shops that are popping up all around the city. Every coffee shop in Wilmington offers a different experience, from quirky health lattes to nitro brews coffee connoisseurs won’t be disappointed here. Below are our favorite picks for the best coffee shops in Wilmington, NC – in no particular order.
The Best Coffee Shops In Wilmington, NC
Drift Coffee is my absolute favorite place to head for a coffee in Wilmington. They have three locations in Wilmington, including one at Ocean Isle Beach, one at Mayfaire Town center, and one near the university called Autumn Hall. They have a welcoming atmosphere for those looking to get some work done. Their workspace allows for plenty of natural light to shine through the windows, which honestly always increases my productivity.
I love their fast WiFi, health-conscious food menu, and unique coffee drinks that I can never find anywhere else in Wilmington. They make all their syrups in-house, inspiring fun drinks like a creamsicle latte (pictured above) and the peppermint matcha latte.
Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods is in downtown Wilmington right on Princess Street; it offers a vast and open interior, great for working! Bespoke is located in a historic building with wide-open windows lookout out to downtown Wilmington.
Bespoke offers coffee and tea and has a wide selection of kombucha, wine, and beer! If you are venturing downtown for a day of shopping and enjoying the Cape Fear River, make sure to stop at Bespoke beforehand.
Luna Caffe Roasters
Luna Caffe was opened by UNCW grads in 2013 and is housed in a historic building circa 1930, featuring beautiful and original exposed brick walls. They roast delicious coffee in-house that can be found around town in Wilmington restaurants like Platypus and Gnome, Cape Fear Spice, and Tidal Creek Co-Op.
Luna Caffe is located downtown in the antique district on Castle Street. You can’t miss it as the shop is painted in a whimsical, bright purple.
On top of great coffee, Luna Caffe also offers smoothies and a wide range of specialty teas. This is one of the best coffee shops in Wilmington that is pet-friendly! We highly recommend trying their seasonal specialty lattes, which are constantly rotating.
24 South Coffee House
Right on Front Street is this charming woman-owned coffee house with a warm and inviting atmosphere for those looking to work. Thanks to its convenient location downtown, you’ll find a mix of locals and tourists venturing in here for a fresh cup.
24 South has drip brews, Italian sodas, and awesome latters. But perhaps what they are best known for is their homemade chai tea latte!
Cheeky Monkey Coffee
Cheeky Monkey Coffee is another Downtown Wilmington restaurant located in the Old Wilmington City Market. Head here before strolling the Wilmington Riverfront!
This family-owned establishment roasts all its coffee in small batches to maximize freshness and serve the best to customers. They provide made-to-order lattes and have alternative milks on offer.
I love most that all their cups are recyclable, and they strive to be as eco-friendly as possible. Of course, if you want a no-waste solution, it’s best to bring your reusable mug!
Java Dog Coffee House
Java Dog Coffee House is somewhat of an institution in Downtown Wilmington and of the best Wilmington coffee shops. It’s the only coffee shop on this list that was around when I was in college at UNCW, many moons ago, which is saying something!
Their location in The Cotton Exchange ensures there’s always a steady flow of customers, especially on summer weekend days. On weekdays you’ll find Cape Fear college students enjoying a cappuccino here. They specialize in frappes which are the perfect treat on a hot summer day.
New Town Roastery
Officially the coolest and most unique coffee shop in Wilmington, New Town Roastery provides a fantastic meeting point. Located in the cargo district, New Town Roastery is comprised of old shipping containers.
They offer a drive-through coffee lane and a walk-up outdoor bar. Their outdoor courtyard provides a great place to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather in Wilmington. An indoor area is shared with the Alcove Beer Garden Brewery and the Mess Hall restaurant. You could spend all day here trying not only coffee, but beer and food too!
Out of all the coffee shops on this list, New Town Roastery consistently provided my favorite iced mocha. They also offer a delicious spiced beetroot latte which we urge you to try at least once!
Spill Coffee Co
Spill Coffee is the coffee shop in Wilmington to head for all things hip, cute, and pink. Spill Coffee is located near UNCW on Kerr Avenue. Started by two women passionate about therapeutic coffee, walking into Spill will transport you to Southern California. Spill originated as a coffee cart but now is housed in a cozy instagrammable building with pink neon lates saying things like “Please, do Instagram this.”
What do I mean by therapeutic coffee? How does an iced latte with collagen sound to strengthen your hair and nails? Or how about a drink with MCT Oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and cinnamon to aid healthy weight loss? The Royal Latte has turmeric, cinnamon, vanilla, almond milk, and espresso! All these drinks take a traditional latte and put a bit of a healthy twist on them!
Don’t let the exterior of Lucky Joe Craft Coffee fool you, walk inside, and you’ll see why this coffee shop in Wilmington has rave reviews. Billed as Wilmington’s original cold brew coffee shop, this place does cold brew perfectly. Lucky Joe Coffee is kegged with nitrogen to lock in freshness and served on tap. The result is a rich, deep, and almost sweet coffee.
They have fantastic nitro coffee for the Wilmington coffee snobs like us. Their indoor atmosphere is terrific for working or catching up with friends. Located near Spill Coffee, Lucky Joe is one of the most popular places for UNCW students to head after class!
Bitty & Beaus
Amy & Ben Wright opened Bitty and Beau’s coffee shop to combat the high unemployment rate for individuals with IDD and other disabilities. Their children (Bitty and Beau) were born with Down Syndrome and inspired them to start this amazing venture.
The Wrights opened the first Bitty and Beau in Wilmington in 2016 and originally employed over 20 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Since opening in 2016, they have franchised out and now operate in 12 states with 23 locations! Not only is it one of the best coffee shops in Wilmington taste-wise, but one of the best to visit that truly connects with a sometimes forgotten about community.
Social Coffee and Supply
Social Coffee and Supply is a small shop near Hops Supply Company and Caseys BBQ, one of the best restaurants and breweries in Wilmington. The atmosphere is cozy and retro-cool.
They have near-perfect reviews and for a good reason! The staff is amicable, and they have unique and tasty drinks that you can’t find at your average coffee shop. We recommend trying the Honey Lavendar or Rosemary Vanilla Latte!