Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear leather aprons and are more likely to get excited about steam wands, extraction times and golden crema than they are about spandex suits or supervillains. The gun baristas at these cafés pump out top-notch coffee day after day – and they won’t turn you away if you’re paying by card.
On the long bent elbow of Glen Osmond Road, lined with lingerie shops and babywear boutiques, Bar 9 keeps the sexed-up and sleep-deprived caffeinated. Glen Osmond eventually becomes the highway to Melbourne, and Bar 9 has read more than a few pages of that city's biography: communal tables, bewhiskered baristas and serious coffee. If you can get in the door (there are frequent queues), order the house-baked beans with chorizo, poached eggs, mustard seed oil, almonds, paprika salt and ciabatta. New city branches have opened in David Jones’ basement and on Whitmore Square but the original is still the hippest.
Chris Jarmer’s savvy café/restaurant leads the charge into Bowden, a reinvented industrial area on the CBD fringe: new streets, new townhouses, a new idea of what ‘inner west’ means in Adelaide’s suburban hierarchy. Occupying an old pub (the only ‘old’ thing still here), Jarmer’s is disciplined but casual, offering inspired meats, pastas, seafood, salads and coffee worth moving into the ‘hood for. Kickstart your heart with a Bowden berry shake (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and yoghurt), or a supreme long macchiato. For lunch, the grilled chorizo with red peppers and tempering Woodside goats curd has winner written all over it.
Mend your broken heart at the Sad Café, an earnest, heartfelt little backstreet coffee nook in Adelaide’s East End. Humble, bookish students and bearded types congregate, looking for a quiet spot to park their single-gear, sip one of Adelaide’s best coffees and forget this morning’s philosophy lecture. Sad is a super spot for a short black and a sandwich (try the turkey-and-ham sourdough with green pea mash, grilled haloumi and red pepper relish). With art on the walls and artful conversation, a visit to Sad will turn your frown upside down.