For students looking for coffee around campus, the options are practically limitless. If you’re interested in a safe bet, chains like Starbucks, Panera and Dunkin’ Donuts are abundant.
But if you’re looking to support local businesses, care about eco-friendly business practices or want to know exactly where your coffee is coming from, Clifton has a couple options for you.
Cincinnati has a wide variety of coffee styles and eclectic vibes from locally-owned coffee shops. Many of these establishments are practicing sustainable habits.
More than that, these places offer a safe space for students to be from dawn to dusk. Plus, the coffee’s really good.
These locations primarily serve students, so it’s a great way to connect with the UC community as well as Clifton residents.
Whether you’re looking for a cozy place to hang out with friends or a serene spot to write or study, we have two coffee shops near campus that you should check out.
Rohs Street Cafe
245 W. McMillan Street, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 2 p.m.-11 p.m.
Rohs Street Cafe is a short walk from campus on the corner of McMillan and Rohs Street. This cozy cafe has been a part of the Clifton community for 15 years.
“We started Rohs Street to meet that need for the community where students can come and hang out ... be safe and feel like they’re a part of a community,” said Keaton Neely, manager of Rohs Street Café. “[It’s] also to bring that emphasis of fair and direct trade coffee and sustainable trading practices to the forefront of coffee culture in Cincinnati.”
An establishment that focuses on sustainable practices and tasty coffee, you can get just about anything at Rohs Street Café. The workers are well-acquainted with the business and will be able to tell you exactly where the coffee came from and how it was made.
Rohs Street Cafe is also a resource for students and offers two private meeting spaces that patrons can reserve at no cost. The only rule is that you cannot bring outside food and drink, and certain meeting topics are not allowed in the cafe.
From espresso, to their own version of cold brew, to nitro coffee and a variety of tea, it’s a great place to hang out and there’s almost always seating. Another plus is the Wi-Fi is actually great, so you’re always able to work on your homework.
The staff currently is primarily UC students from a variety of majors. As a result, the guests are also primarily UC students but people from all over Clifton and the city come to drink coffee at Rohs Street now.
There’s also a community billboard that is open to anyone, where students and community members alike are welcome to post events.
If you’re hungry, Rohs always has small pastries available.
Lydia’s on Ludlow
329 Ludlow Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Open: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Lydia’s has been a beloved part of the community for nine years now. It is Cincinnati’s only green cafe, apothecary and retail store located in the heart of the Clifton Gaslight Business District.
“It’s always important to know exactly where everything you get is coming from,” said Tom Gabbard, apothecary and bar manager at Lydia’s on Ludlow. “You want to know it’s backstory, you want to know it was produced ethically, and everyone should be more conscious about how they affect the world around them.”
Lydia’s is an “eco café,” which means it tries to leave a minimal carbon footprint. To do so, the establishment grows and uses local produce from the Price Hill eco-community.
The cafe has a full bar that includes specialty cocktails based on old prohibition drinks. They even have a unique (and very cool) absinthe drink that bartenders set on fire before serving.
The cafe offers a full menu with vegan options available, as well as Sunday brunch.
Lydia’s also sells alcohol, food and coffee for events in Clifton Plaza. The cafe also hosts events including a weekly open mic night that showcases musicians, writers, comics and whomever else wants to take the stage.
Students and community members alike are invited to host events from talks to poetry readings to live shows.