Oregon, United States

Guide to Salem, Oregon Coffee Shops

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Coffee culture is a defining feature of Oregon – among other things. For your next caffeine fix, check out a few of my favorite Salem coffee shops.

French Press

2725 Commercial St. SE

Salem’s food scene isn’t as diverse as Portland but enjoys some international flare here and there. For a taste of crepes try French Press, where the coffee is served in – wait for it – a French Press. The vibe is attuned for a quick in-and-out coffee and crepe.

Drive-Thru: Yes
In-House Roasting: Yes
Good for Work: No
Serves Alcohol: No
Food: Pastries

Governor’s Cup

471 Court St NE

The anchor of Salem’s coffee scene, Governor’s Cup – or “The Gov Cup” – is well suited for couples, small groups, and solo workers. Every morning you’ll find something I like to call “Old men, getting coffee, talking politics.”

This was, basically, my office as a freelancer in Salem. The upstairs seating is a good place to plug-in and work for a few hours – with other good coffee shops a few minute’s walk if you need a change of scenery. For breakfast, I recommend the “Sweetheart Like You” on baker’s bread. Granted, it sounds like you’re flirting with the barista every time you order it.

Drive-Thru: No
Good for Work: Yes
Serves Alcohol: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In-House Roasting: Yes
Food: Sandwiches & Pastries

IKE Box

This century-old building on Cottage Street served as a funeral home for most of its history. But now, as far as I know, contains 100% fewer dead people – and serves better coffee than one would expect at a wake. The entire building offers lots of little nooks to hide away in but allows reservations for large groups.

Given the age, it can feel a little stuffy. But all in all, has a great mission worthy of your dollars.

Drive-Thru: No
Good for Work: Yes
Serves Alcohol: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In-House Roasting: No
Food: Sandwiches, Quiches & Pastries

Isaac’s Coffee, Wine & Dessert

Isaac’s is under the same ownership as IKE Box but feels like a cool, younger brother that moved to Portland. With Edison-style light bulbs and chic seating, it competes with Archive for the most modern-feel. On weekdays, it gets busy and a tad loud. But the atmosphere is enough to keep you coming back.

Drive-Thru: No
Good for Work: Yes
Serves Alcohol: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In-House Roasting: Yes
Food: Full Menu

Archive Coffee & Bar

Hands down the hippest place in Salem – if you assume that just saying “hip” doesn’t automatically make a place not-so. And, in my opinion, serves the best coffee in town, albeit among the priciest. Archive is the one place I could spend equal time at day or night. They’ve got a great menu, solid outdoor seating, and fun drink specials during the week.

Drive-Thru: No
Good for Work: Yes
Serves Alcohol: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
In-House Roasting: Yes
Food: Full Menu

Anti-LGBTQ Coffee Shops in Salem

Salem is a conservative-leaning city. And at least two coffee places in the area, Cafe Shine and Broadway Coffeeshop, are church-owned. This alone isn’t a reason to boycott their businesses. Instead, I’d highlight their values.

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Cafe Shine is affiliated with the Salem House of Prayer and Morningstar Ministries, who’s founder compared LGBTQ people to child abusers. My experience with the employees of Cafe Shine, after telling them my identity, was silence or a, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” attitude. Not comfortable.

Broadway Coffeehouse, one of the most popular shops in town, is owned by the Salem Alliance Church. A letter to the Statesman Journal described their hiring practices as anti-LGBTQ. And in response to accusations of discrimination, the pastor said, “We intentionally hire followers of Jesus,” and believe in an “orthodox view of marriage.” (i.e. 1-man-1-woman).

There are plenty of coffee shops in Salem, Oregon, so consider filling up elsewhere.

Are you thinking about moving to Salem? Check out my pros and cons list.

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