The Trendy Neighborhoods of Midtown
As one drives north from ORU along Peoria or Lewis Avenue, they will discover several of Tulsa’s trendy and bohemian neighborhoods: Brookside, Cherry St., the Pearl District, and Kendall-Whittier. Here, you will find cool shops and boutiques, non-chain restaurants, great architecture, young entrepreneurs, art galleries, and many of the best independent coffee houses in the city. Bring your homework and spend a weekend afternoon catching up on assignments at your new favorite java joint.
Drive up along Peoria Avenue long enough and you will encounter the neighborhood of Brookside, easily considered Tulsa’s epicenter for up-to-the-minute styles and eats. It’s also home to the Hammer Center employees’ favorite coffee house…
- Shades of Brown Coffee and Art — 3302 S Peoria Ave.
What we like about it: Shades” is the perfect spot when you are having a Jack Kerouac moment and want to embrace your inner Beatnick. Located close to cool stores like Urban Outfitters, Ida Red, and a Trader Joe’s market, Shades provides great coffee and boho-styled nooks to cozy up in. Open late, ’till 11pm or midnight most nights!
Favorite drinks: Prague Mocha (Chris); Chumpkin (Miriam)
Who’s a fan: Miriam loves to study here and says it is “very warm and cozy… especially nice around the fall” when you will probably find her curled up on a couch with a Chumpkin in hand, “the most amazing drink they have–it’s very unique! It has some pumpkin spice in it and other spices; hard to describe its taste 🙂 but everyone should try it!”
Haven also raves about Shades: “Their spicy latte is UH-mazing! They offer it with either cayenne pepper or ginger. They also have a great made in-store chai. I usually get that one “dirty,” in which they add a shot of espresso.”
Up on Lewis Avenue, there is a strip of 15th St. S that is known as “Cherry Street,” home to great restaurants such as Andolini’s Pizzeria and Kilkenny’s Irish Pub. It’s also home to the appropriately named…
- Coffee House on Cherry St. — 1502 E 15th St.
What we like about it: CHOCS (as it’s commonly known) is one of the quirkiest coffee joints on our list. It’s not a huge spot, it has good coffee and tea like all of the ones on this list, but what makes CHOCS stand out is its great bakery and dessert selection, which includes many gluten-free items. They also offer a small patio area out front with chiminea fire pits. Fire = cool.
University of Tulsa (UT)
Sure, they’re our cross-town basketball rivals, but can’t we just be friends the rest of the year? Just a few blocks north of Cherry Street, and a bit east of S. Lewis, lies the beautiful UT campus. On the way there, you’ll come across…
- 918 Coffee — 2446 E 11th St.
What we like about it: Want to meet some non-ORU college students? Come here! Great desserts, and our in-house coffee connoiseur Haven says their pour-over coffee is awesome.
The Pearl District
Continue north on Peoria, and you will find the Pearl District, with the beautiful Central Park on your left and a very popular coffee house, The Pheonix, on your right. The Pearl is an emerging enclave of hipsterness, with a couple yoga studios, art studios, creative shops, and two great cafes:
- The Phoenix — 1302 E 6th St.
What we like about it: The Phoenix rises out of the coffee grounds below to the top of many ORU students’ lists of favorite places to sip and study. The largest cafe on our list, the Phoenix also serves sandwiches and salads (Haven loves their bagels), and has 2 seating rooms to choose from: a large, open space on the right, replete with a small used book store, and a cozier library room to the left of the entrance area. Find your nook at the Phoenix!
- Cirque — 1317 E 6th St.
What we like about it: Cheekily located across the street from the Phoenix, we find the newest cafe on our list. Cirque is only a breakfast/lunch hour place (7am-3pm, M-Sat). The focus here is on the coffee, which they import from their favorite roasters in Dallas and Colorado. Located in the artsy Pearl District, Cirque offers serves its Joe with a cool vintage industrial aesthetic, using the latest brewing methods.
Lying at the top of Lewis and once known as a rather seedy neighborhood, Kendall-Whittier has reemerged as creative hub, with a huge art supply store, some galleries, an independent movie theater, some great Mexican food, and worth-the-drive destination for coffee purists.
- Fair Fellow Coffee — 1 N Lewis Ave.
What we like about it: Formerly known as the Hoot Owl Coffee Co., this Fair Fellow is located in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, also home to the Circle Cinema (which plays independent, foreign, and classic films), a great Mexican panaderia (bakery) called Pancho Anaya, and a restaurant called Calavera’s that Mexican food snob Chris gives his thumbs up to. (“Have a bowl of their posole soup on a cold day, it will warm both your stomach and your soul,” he claims.) Fair Fellow is a sparse, modern space where the focus is on the in-house roasted coffee, including a nitrogen-infused cold brew (creates a creamy smoothness to the drink, and boosts caffeine levels). FYI, no decaf is allowed here! No, seriously…
Next time’s stop… Downtown!