I don’t know if you have noticed, but I have started to get into a rhythm with blogging. I think that one of the reasons is because I have kind of started a weekly ritual where I stop by Sip coffee house downtown to read the paper, knock out some posts, and enjoy some good coffee.
Situated on the corner of St Mary’s and Houston Street, Sip offers its customers the kind of feel that you would expect in a bigger city. There are large windows flanking two sides of the coffee shop with a bar that travels along one side where many of my posts have been typed up. I like this shop so much because it is a way to feel like you really are in a big city since you can “people watch” the tourists and locals as they walk by, see trolleys/buses/traffic buzz by, and be surrounded by tall buildings. All the while, the high ceilings and large windows are perfect for a Texan like myself because, even being downtown, I still like to feel like I am in an open space.
I think that you have to look at the cost of Sip to something comparable like Starbucks. For starters, the coffee is pretty reasonable and you can get a cup of Joe in a refillable mug for just under $2. While there is not really an abundant selection of self service coffee (I would like to see a “bold” offering), the coffee is good and always fresh.
They have an assortment of fresh pastries that they purchase from different bakers around town. I’ve enjoyed the chocolate cream cheese muffin several times and the chocolate chip cookies are really good as well. I have yet to try a slice of pie or cheesecake, but they are always tempting. While I usually keep it to coffee, expect to pay about $4 to $5 if you throw a pastry in with it.
Additionally, they have all the specialty drinks that you would expect to find. This past visit, they had made a mocha freddo for a customer and had a little left over in the blender and offered me a sample. I liked the balance of sweet and coffee taste and think it would be a good summer drink for tourists navigating downtown in the hot sun. However, being an Average Joe I usually stick to the basic cup of Joe.
Finally, they do offer some different sandwiches for the lunch crowd. I have to admit, I have never ordered a sandwich as I am usually just ordering a cup of coffee or a pastry. If you try one out, leave a comment on this post about how you liked it.
The staff is incredibly friendly and always up for a little conversation. I enjoy chewing the fat with them a little bit and to find out how business is going. Additionally, stars staying in the nearby hotels (Robert Duval, the band Buckcherry, Kathy Griffin and others) often stop by before or after a show. If you are visiting San Antonio and staying at the Valencia or the Gunter, I highly recommend you eating breakfast and grabbing a cup of coffee at Sip and enjoy some of the San Antonio hospitality. Who knows, you might even see a famous person to boot.
Value: 8/10 (In like with Starbucks and other coffee houses, but you do get free refills!)
Atmosphere: 10/10 (Modern, hip feel with big windows that let in plenty of natural light; get to “people watch” all the folks on the street)
Service: 10/10 (really friendly and always willing to chew the fat)
Taste: 9/10 (good coffee, but would like to see a little more diversity in the self service offerings; never met a pastry here I didn’t like)
Website: http://sip.bigz-burgerjoint.com/ (guess they are owned by the Bigz Burger people??)
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