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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — This summer is a scorcher, and for those of us who can’t become beach bums slurping a Del’s for three months, solid air conditioning with Wi-Fi and caffeine are necessary to survive a work week.
I’ll admit that I spend a good chunk of my weekly pay on exotic beans and interesting-sounding lattés. But I can’t keep hogging my favorite spots.
If you’re looking for a new coffee shop to get some work done, try one of these cafés.
SEED CAFÉ & ESPRESSO BAR
Less than a month old, Seed Café & Espresso Bar is a solid choice in downtown Pawtucket for something new. It’s a coffee shop located in the Still on Main building, which attracts multiple vendors and appears to be in a sort of transition period. They sell beans and espresso from Borealis Coffee Company, a small batch specialty coffee roaster from Rhode Island’s East Bay, along with tea, fresh egg sandwiches and bagel chips. It’s a tiny spot that looks like a bar, but with soft lounge chairs. Bohemian-style lighting and greenery are dripping from the ceiling, the walls, and basically every shelf space you can imagine — you can even buy a plant — so it’s a go-to for when you need a relaxed but productive environment. 250 Main St., Suite 18, Pawtucket, check for updates on Instagram.
RISE ‘N SHINE COFFEE
Over on Smith Hill in Providence, a historic second-empire style carriage house first constructed in 1858 was restored to its original glory in 2020 by Neal Kaplan. The property was part of Christopher Dodge’s estate, and included a horse and buggy stable on the first floor, a second floor for the bachelor, and a third story that was added sometime during the turn of the century. Kaplan, a longtime Smith Hill resident, opened the Rise ‘N Shine Coffee Bar in the carriage house’s storefront and it’s become a hidden enclave off the beaten path. In 2022, the cafe was recognized by the Providence Preservation Society with a Neighborhood Gem Award. The space also has decor that celebrates cobblers, which honors both the space — which was a cobbler shop in the 1950s — and Kaplan’s great grandfather, who was once a cobbler in New York City. There’s even a two-seat shoe shine stand that is a replica of the one that use to be located in the old Providence train station. 97 Holden St., Providence, risenshineri.com.
COCO’S CAFE & BAR
Located where New Harvest Coffee Roasters used to be in the historic Arcade building in downtown Providence, Coco’s Cafe and Bar is still something of a hidden gem. It’s a newer addition to the Arcade, opened by owner Amanda Gabro, who is serving coffee, matcha from Rishi Tea & Botanicals, doughnuts from Knead, and other homemade treats during the day. They’re open until 7 p.m. daily, and have a bar for cocktails if you’re looking to switch from straight caffeine to an espresso martini. 65 Weybosset St., Providence, check for updates on Instagram.