In the heart of Downtown Paso Robles, Amsterdam Coffee House looks like a throwback to times when a coffee spot was the preferred living room — and not home office — away from home. It is a proper coffee house.
There’s a café. There’s a coffee shop. And then there’s a coffee house. The last one would be familiar to anyone who’s ever paired plaid and Doc Marten’s with their angst demeanor. That or lived vicariously through Friends where the coffee house was the spot to meet and discuss your current First World problem(s).
If you’ve done neither, the differences may be a bit too fine, given how they all serve coffee and some baked good. Whereas a cafe might concentrate on coffee and a coffee shop will feed you a proper breakfast, the coffee house’s main focus always seemed to be centered on the vibe. It evoked the local before localism became a movement then a buzzword.
At Amsterdam Coffee House, the baristas know many of those who pop in for a blended coffee drink or Americano to go, exchanging pleasantries in a clearly familiar way. The food menu doesn’t extend past pastries, but the coffee is good, sourced from a regional roaster in San Luis Obispo called Coastal Peaks.
Neither coffee nor food will impress as strongly as the ambiance, cozy not stuffy. A few leather armchairs crowd one corner, where two men, more elderly than middle-aged, might sit indefinitely and exchange some thoughts whenever each breaks from his reverie.
A couple of tables are lined up next to the row of windows — at least one will be available for a makeshift office when you need to create your cat lover club’s monthly e-newsletter, or update your scrapbook with new borders and stickers. There’s certainly enough space to do so.
Added to its neighborhood feel, Amsterdam Coffee House is rather well-located. It’s right next door to the tasting room for Bodegas, a great local small-production wine label, and around the corner from Thomas Hills Organic, a popular seasonal bistro. There is something inviting about having hot food or a stiffer drink options just steps way, whenever you wrap up your work or gab session.
Amsterdam Coffee House: 725 13th Street, Paso Robles; (805) 239-7779. [map]
Ambiance: A general sense of laid-backness, relatively quiet with some chatter sprinkled in.
Amenities: Unlimited, password-protected wifi. A few outlets. Cushy seating in the form of armchairs and sofas. A few outlets. One restroom.
Drink/Food: Dessert bars and muffins of several different types, which includes blueberry and Morning Glory.