Capitol Hill cafe with a view
August 16, 2018 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I will be visiting Seattle this weekend and want to visit bookshops and cafes. I am still missing the beautiful space that used to be Vivace’s old location overlooking the reservoir. Where else on Capitol Hill can I get coffee with a pleasant view or (if view is not possible) a nice environment to linger and read?
posted by Atrahasis to Travel & Transportation around Seattle, WA (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I can't recommend any place with a view, but for ambiance I really like Ada's Technical Books and Cafe or Little Oddfellows (inside of Elliott Bay Books). I lived in Capitol Hill a few years ago and when I visit I'm always amazed by how much has changed in less than five years!
posted by pianohands at 12:26 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, seconding those two. Elliott Bay Books has kind of a hunting lodge vibe overall, though Little Oddfellows in particular is more white minimalist. Ada's is cozy and nerdy with a lot of cool decorative touches.

If you're willing to expand to other neighborhoods: Milstead and Co in Fremont has the best coffee shop view I've seen in Seattle. Modern, trendy decor. The Station and the nearby Estelita's Library in Beacon Hill have basically the exact opposite vibe, very underground leftist but they're perfect places to be if you're reading say The Autobiography of Malcolm X. (The Station is a coffee shop, Estelita's is a community library that's sort of loosely associated with it.)
posted by perplexion at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions! Interestingly, my family and I often end up at Little Oddfellows, though I am not as big a fan of the basement location. My preference is for maximum natural light, if anything comes to mind.
posted by Atrahasis at 12:53 PM on August 16, 2018

If the air quality is decent (we have been having AQ issues), Vivace's has a sidewalk stand with outdoor tables. It's on Broadway, next to Chase Bank.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:06 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I lived in the neighborhood, I really liked hanging out and reading in the Cafe Ladro on 15th. No view, but comfy seats, including some outside. Ada's is also nice.

Little Oddfellow's is not in a basement - the café at the old Elliot Bay Books was, but this one isn't. It is kind of at the back of the store without a ton of natural light though.
posted by lunasol at 4:24 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nthing Ada’s. Such a great spot.
posted by bluloo at 5:06 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! I will try Ada's - I checked it out on Yelp and it looks very cozy yet well-lit. Maybe I'll see some of you there!
Lunasol, you're right, Little Oddfellows is not in a basement, I just remember it being kind of dark and enclosed.
posted by Atrahasis at 6:31 PM on August 16, 2018

Best answer: The original Victrola location on 15th ave E is still around, and would have good light in the morning. Another option on the same street might be The Wandering Goose, which is a small breakfast and lunch spot, but you could probably just have coffee if they are not too busy. Neither have the high ceilings of the old Vivace, but they both have nice, east-facing windows. I write this from New England while pining, mildly, for my many years on Capitol Hill.
posted by baseballpajamas at 7:36 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Volunteer Park Cafe has a nice laid back atmosphere, in an old house/storefront in a residential neighborhood at 17th and Galer. Really good food and coffee and house-made baked goods. I make a detour there on the way to work just to get their scones (and I normally don't like scones). It's been 20 years since I lived on the Hill, but I used to love Cafe Paradiso on Pike, it's now a Caffe Vita, and the last time I was there I noticed they had unfortunately closed off the upstairs part (that had the great view). I do miss the old Vivace!
posted by plasticpalacealice at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's not a coffee place, but the back porch at The Lookout has quite a nice view and the curious bonus of being at the intersection of Bellevue, Bellevue and Bellevue.

Also not a coffee place, but for my money, the best place to linger and read with a gorgeous view is Boren Park. It's rarely busy and has a lovely panorama including, Lake Washington, The University and Bellevue.
posted by Cogito at 7:39 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Surprisingly few coffee places with a view - they all seem to face east towards... well, nothing, really. But I like Joe Bar for lingering, at Broadway and Roy. Volunteer Park Cafe is also nice for sure. The Third Place Books on Ravenna has a nice little cafe as well. If you go up that direction you should also consider Magus Books and nearby Cafe Allegro in the U District.. on 42nd or 43rd just off the Ave, if I remember correctly. Have fun!

(quite thrilled to have an AskMe pitched right down my alley.)
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:53 PM on August 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I wish I could have gone to all of your suggested cafes. Saturday morning, I ended up at Victrola on 15th Ave., and though there was no view, there was lots of bright natural light coming in through the windows. One added bonus is that my espresso was on the house because I bought a bag of their beans. The other added bonus is that they served the espresso properly, with a small glass of water on the side.
posted by Atrahasis at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

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