The Hub City offers a seemingly never-ending list of music venues, comfort food and year-round sporting events. With the popularity of coffee chains such as Starbucks or Einstein Bro’s Bagels, local cafés can be easily overlooked. However, with a quick drive around Hattiesburg, you may stumble upon various local gems that immediately overshadow coffee chains with their charm, quality and atmosphere.
- Java Werks-2902 Hardy St. Unit 10
Directly across the street from Southern Miss, Java Werks is the most easily accessible coffee shop, aside from the on-campus Einstein Bro’s and Starbucks. If you’re looking for time to kill between classes, this is the place to go. In addition to Java Werks’ extensive variety of coffees and teas, they also offer homemade Venezuelan arepas. Purely based on accessibility, Java Werks is the best option for Southern Miss students on busy class days. The coffee itself gets the job done but does not stand out.
- T-Bones Records & Café-2101 Hardy St.
Hattiesburg wouldn’t be Hattiesburg without T-Bones. Their cold brew coffee is brilliant; not too bitter, not too sweet. My favorite is the Layup with amaretto flavoring and soy milk. Although T-Bones is technically a café, they offer delicious sandwiches, soups and salads, many of which are vegan-friendly. On a sunny day, enjoy your coffee on their cozy patio; for rainy days, chill inside, enjoy some music and look through their amazing record collection.
- The Depot-209 Buschman St.
Like T-Bones, The Depot is a well-known brunch spot for Hattiesburgers. While coffee is not their main focus, they offer an array of quality, locally-inspired beverages. I had the Hub City Mocha, which was a blend of white and dark chocolate with a mild espresso. The latte was slightly too milky for my taste, but it paired perfectly with their highly praised gouda grits. Because they close relatively early, The Depot best functions as a weekend reading spot—beware, they do not offer Wi-Fi, so you’re stuck with old-school pen and paper.
- Equinox Coffee-1901 Hardy St.
Despite being a newcomer to the Hattiesburg coffee scene, Equinox has quickly become a local favorite of mine. They offer a standard list of lattes and cold brews, but a unique element to the menu is their bubble tea (I recommend the vanilla). The location itself is relatively quiet, despite being full of customers the majority of the time. I found it easiest to read at Equinox; the atmosphere left me comfortable, yet energetic enough to stay focused. They do not offer food, but a selection of dairy and fruit ice pops will make an appearance in the near future.
- Grin Coffee-508 Broadway Dr.
Immediately upon walking into Grin, I felt like I magically left the Deep South and stepped into a coffee shop in the Pacific Northwest. A simple selection of basic espressos and cold brews prove that fancy names and concoctions are unnecessary if you have quality coffee. Grin uniquely roasts their own beans in-house, so the coffee is always ridiculously fresh. I asked the owner, Tommy, for his recommendation, and he surprised me with a Vietnamese cold brew blended with a splash of sweetened condensed milk—I’m still lusting over it. Despite only having a few bistro tables and chairs, Grin’s low-key atmosphere creates a comforting environment that is perfect for escaping the daily Hattiesburg hustle.