Coffee Culture: Top Five Cafes In Richmond, Virginia

It may not be as big as New York or as iconic as San Francisco, but Richmond is one of the USA’s hidden dining treasures. Over the past few years, a wonderful collection of cafes, restaurants and bars has cropped up in the Virginian capital.

Here are five of the finest cafes in Richmond:

Photo courtesy of Gemma King.

Photo courtesy of Sefton Coffee Company.

Sefton Coffee Company

Barely a year old, Sefton Coffee Company has already established itself as one of the best coffee spots in Richmond. Their drinks menu is wildly long and creative and I’m yet to try something that isn’t fantastic. Pair your coffee with granola and a smoothie in the morning, or a sandwich with their house-made trail mix in the afternoon. Whatever you get, get it to eat in; the staff are just lovely.

Photo courtesy of Gemma King.

Photo courtesy of Gemma King.

Sub Rosa

Just before I first moved to Richmond, beloved local bakery Sub Rosa was consumed by a fire. But today Sub Rosa is back and better than ever, serving scrumptious pastries, crusty wood-fired bread and top-notch coffees. The iced version, pictured, is the perfect antidote to a sweltering RVA summer’s day.

Photo courtesy of Lamplighter.

Photo courtesy of Lamplighter.


Popular lunch spot Lamplighter boasts a long bagel and sandwich menu unrivalled by anywhere else in the city. But while their lunch fare is certainly delicious (my favorite is the ‘Katie’ avocado bagel), Lamplighter’s main attraction is its house-roasted coffee. Keep it simple and order their Americano for your afternoon pick-me-up.

Photo courtesy of WPA.

Photo courtesy of WPA.

WPA, or Well-Made Pastry Alliance

No pour overs, espressos, short macchiatos or cappuccinos here: WPA does filter coffee (hot or iced) and filter coffee alone. But they do it damn well, and paired with the most delectable pies, muffins and cakes in town. There’s always a sizeable gluten free and vegan range of treats, too. Plus the service and atmosphere are simply charming.

Photo courtesy of Sugar Shack.

Photo courtesy of Sugar Shack.

Sugar Shack

Donut lovers rejoice: Sugar Shack not only serves rich coffee; they are also famous for some truly mouth-watering donuts. Regular flavours include peanut butter with clusters of fresh peanuts, chai, maple bacon and caramel with sea salt flakes. I’m usually the girl in the corner with the large latte and chocolate sprinkles donut though. Can’t beat the classics.

Note: Sugar Shack’s flagship is an over-the-counter shopfront on Leigh Street, but if you want a sit-down café experience, they have a Monday to Friday coffee shop on Main Street in Downtown.

What’s your favorite coffee haunt in Richmond? Please share in the comments below.

By Gemma King

Also Check Out:

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Coffee Culture: Top Five Cafes In Melbourne, Australia

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Gemma King

Coffee Connoisseur Columnist
Gemma King is an Australian francophile living between Paris, Melbourne and Richmond Virginia. A PhD student in French cinema at Melbourne Uni and the Sorbonne, she's also an eternal nomad, a film buff, a French lecturer, a coffee reviewer, an English teacher and a travel writer. As la muséophile, she spends her Sundays exploring and reviewing the lesser-known museums of Paris at


    1. Lift and Black Hand are great! I’m hoping to do a second round soon and include those, plus a few others. Have to put Alchemy on my to-do list. Thanks!

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