In Atlanta’s saturated market of coffee shops, finding a niche is key to a newcomer’s survival. By adding a focus on bicycles to the typical craft coffee, Benjamin Boisson and Jeff Demetriou’s Cafe + Velo has differentiated itself from other third wave coffee shops.
Despite its location on Edgewood Avenue in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood downtown, Cafe + Velo, with its spacious two stories of patio space, feels removed from the bustle of the city.
The crisp, minimalist interior draws attention to the two-wheel theme with a gallery wall of black and white portraits of cyclists, artists and activists; bikes hanging above the windows; and projected videos of cycling.
With a straightforward coffee menu, the helpful staff does the Octane beans justice. The French inspired kitchen offers breakfast and lunch “crandwiches” — croissant-based sandwiches — in addition to the usual pastries. For customers with dietary preferences or allergies, gluten-free food and almond milk are available.
The bicycle theme goes beyond décor: the coffee shop aims to be a hub for the cycling community. Over a dozen bikes can fit on the bike rack outside, or cyclists can keep their bikes beside them on the patio.
A vending machine offers spare parts and energy bars. For those without their own wheels, Cafe + Velo rents bikes for $35 per day or $200 per week.
Cyclists can easily pick up the southern end of the Beltline nearby on Irwin Street. Alternatively, Cafe + Velo is along the Atlanta Streetcar route, easily accessible via the stop a block away on
For MARTA riders, the King Memorial station is closest. Despite the encouragement of biking, car parking is also available.
Unlike some other specialty coffee shops, Cafe + Velo is an ideal place to study. With reasonably quiet music and an unpretentious atmosphere, focusing is easy in the well-lit interior. Unfortunately, the hours do not accommodate late night studying.
While there could be more power outlets, this is not a large problem, considering that the café is not usually overcrowded. For a break from working, check out the bocce court outside.
Due to its unique appeal to cyclists and solid drink offerings in a beautiful space, Cafe + Velo seems destined to stay in the race. Open since late September, the young shop intends to add events like yoga, movies and group rides to its offerings.