Columbia City’s Empire Espresso earned Seattle Met’s Nosh Pit “Patio of the Week:”
The quiet courtyard at Empire Espresso in Columbia city has none of the typical cafe-patio-fixtures: no awning, no string lights, no umbrellas, even the tables are standard-issue silver bistro type. The 15-seater patio itself is a roped enclosure in a wide blocked-off alleyway at the back of the cafe out the garage doors and the view is mostly brick walls, a few green bushes and the front of a pilates studio.But there’s gorgeous sunlight, just enough shade-cover thanks to the buildings around, summery flowers on the tables, free wifi and your choice of fine brew — locally sourced Kuma coffee that keeps the regulars coming, a fairly large beer selection, a wine menu that’s picked carefully to be cheap and good, plus a variety of tea and cider. Food is either waffles or panini and happy hour from 4 to 7 every day, means a $5 beer and grilled cheese special and a dollar off all drinks. For soccer fans, a well-positioned TV, that’s inside the cafe but visible from the patio, will be showing most of the major World Cup games in the next week.This neighborhood cafe and patio is a favorite with Columbia City locals, so weekends and game nights get crowded. But if you happen to be around any other time, you’ll likely score a nice sunny seat.