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A neighborhood cafe can offer a place to escape your home, socialize and enjoy a latte, cappuccino, macchiato or other coffee drink. While many cafs are centered around an Instagram-friendly aesthetic, others follow an entirely individual theme. These are some of the world’s most one-of-a-kind cafes.
If you want more than just owls, consider an exotic bird cafe. Tori no Iru, a cafe in Tokyo, is known for its birds flying overhead. In addition to owls and parakeets, guests can also interact with birds of prey like hawks.
Warp back in time at The Wormhole, a coffee shop in Chicago filled with ‘80s memorabilia. A sweet “Back to the Future”-style DeLorean sits on a wall in the cafe’s corner, and the walls are plastered with a smattering of decade-appropriate film posters, tech and game systems. Too bad the prices still aren’t what they were the year you were born.
Almost but not quite a movie location you can visit in real life, this cafe was designed by Swiss set designer H.R. Giger in the style of his “Alien” film sets. With cavernous, skeletal sculptures at every turn, H.R. Giger Bar is visually fascinating and a place to enjoy snacks and drinks when visiting the artist’s eponymous museum in Gruyères, Switzerland.
Built around 1890 and closed in the ‘60s, an underground public washroom in London, England lay dormant for 50 years until two friends transformed it into The Attendant coffee shop. The space was redesigned, and the urinals were turned into countertops. Today, it’s a chic spot for coffee and seasonal foods.
The Moomins are a fictional family of trolls with signature round snouts and carefree personalities. As the stars of a Swedish-language children’s book series, the Moomins have gained international fame thanks to their themed cafes around the world. In 2017, the “anti-loneliness” cafes went viral for seating solo diners with plush Moomins.
Poop Café is a defecation-themed cafe in Toronto. It’s committed to the theme, and serves up desserts in toilet-shaped bowls. Guests are welcome to sit on toilet bowl-like seats as they sip water out of urinal-shaped cups or snack on toilet paper rolled ice cream.
Muggles and wizards alike will enjoy a trip to Platform 1094, a “Harry Potter”-themed cafe in Singapore. Magic-themed drinks and cocktails include Mrs Lich’s Butterscotch Ale and the flaming cocktail Mr Lich's Flaming Brew. Rest assured, Harry’s name will not shoot out your glass.
One more magic-themed cafe for the road — or sky should you arrive at this Henderson, Nevada, spot via broom or enchanted car. Bad Owl Coffee serves up coffee, a ButterBrew Latte and espresso shots along with other lunch items like Avada Ricotta — multigrain bread topped with ricotta, heart-healthy avocado, cilantro sauce and red pepper flakes — or the Charmingly Pesto sandwich all amidst chic owl decor and golden details.
Kawaii means “cute” in Japanese and refers to a culture of cuteness. Kawaii Monster Cafe in Tokyo is an explosion of kawaii culture, from the merry-go-round of giant sweets to the mushroom disco dining room. Of course, the menu is filled with sweet treats, trendy “unicorn” foods and multi-colored pasta.
There’s no better place to enjoy a second breakfast than Houston’s Hobbit Cafe, an ode to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. Enjoy your burgers and brew with Gollum watching you from the corner, then sip on drinks, snacks and desserts named for characters or places. The cafe’s menu was fully vegetarian for the first 10 years after the spot opened up in 1972, and it continues to have a heavy meat-free presence.
Van Gogh Is Bipolar is a “mood-healing sanctuary” in Quezon City, Philippines, just outside Manila. The cafe is made up of several rooms, nooks and walls each charted on a provided map. Guests add their darkest secret to the walls of the dark curse healing room and their loves to the love red wall. Then, sip on mood-boosting teas.
Every good adventurer needs a great cup of coffee, and Three Brothers Coffee in Nashville is here to provide it. Cumberland Transit, Nashville’s oldest locally owned outdoors retailer, began selling bikes in 1971. The same owners of the bike shop later founded Three Brothers Coffee. Today, the cafe is well-known for its hanging bicycle decor, specialty brews and black-and-white street art walkway.
Having classic afternoon tea in a double-decker bus only doubles the fun. An extension of Brigit's Bakery in London, the bus tours on this cafe-on-wheels last roughly 90 minutes and pass by must-see landmarks like Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Downing Street.
Fika, a picturesque Toronto cafe, gets its name from the Swedish word “fika.” Equal parts verb and noun, fika can mean “to go for coffee” or just “coffee break.” The coffee shop has a striking blue-painted brick exterior and interior wall covered in books that rivals the most stunning libraries in the world. As for food and drink, the shop offers Swedish-inspired baked goods and specializes in two signature drinks: the Cardamom Spiced Latte and the seasonal Lavender White Hot Chocolate.
The Laundromat Cafe, founded in 2004 in Copenhagen, combines all the best parts of a cafe and a laundromat: the coffee and, well, the laundry machines. As both a cafe and washery, The Laundromat Cafe makes for an ideal place for snacking, socializing, web-surfing and magazine-reading. However, guests must not forget to mind their laundry.
Every cup of coffee served at Third Street Stuff & Coffee locally roasted and Fair Trade Certified Organic. The colorful shop is a Lexington, Kentucky, icon and sure to bring a smile to your face, even if only through photos.
Snakes & Lattes Tempe/Yelp
Snakes & Lattes allows for family game nights to be spent outside the home for once if you happen to live in Toronto or Tempe, Arizona. With libraries of more than 1,000 games available to guests at each location, these day-time cafes double as dinner and date-night spots too.
This Hanoi, Vietnam, cafe may have wheels, but it’s not going anywhere. The Hanoi Bus Cafe offers cafe drinks and bites both inside and outside a parked and painted bus. The coffee shop also encourages guests to practice sustainability by recycling onsite.
Cat Cafe Lounge in Los Angeles is the city’s only nonprofit cat cafe. All of the 35-plus cats on-site are adoptable. Although it’s designed for felines, the lounge is human-friendly too. If you’d rather drink your coffee at home near your own furry friends, follow these easy coffee tips and recipes to make at home.
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