8 Funky Places to Sip Coffee in Awe in Kansas City

Here are eight funky places to get coffee in Kansas City, including train stations, filling stations, libraries, warehouses, greenhouses, and more. Coffee is richer tasting in a place with a cool vibe so skip buying coffee in a strip mall or drive-through when you visit Kansas City.

Kansas City’s Coffee History

the outside of a cafe in the crossroads area of Kansas City

Kansas City’s love for coffee dates back to 1850 when the Folger’s Coffee Company began coffee production at Seventh and Broadway. The former Folger’s Coffee is now Roaster’s Block – a swank residential loft with 147 units. Just behind Roaster’s Block is Coffee Lofts, which was built in 1916, and is home to another 50 urbanites.

Kansas City’s Funkiest Coffee Shops

Where do Kansas City folks get their coffee and kicks? Here are eight of the hottest and most unusual places to grab a coffee in Kansas City. You’ll soon find out that the only thing better than great coffee, is coffee brewed in historic and creatively adapted spaces.

1. Java In a Former Gas Station

The Filling Station at 2980 McGee plays off its filling station past. The building used to be a Standard Gas Station in the 1950s. The midtown Filling Station (there are three other locations) sits in the middle of an urban neighborhood punctuated with a sculpture in Triangle Park directly outside its front door called House Dreaming by Steven Whitacre. The Filling station serves Messenger coffee as well as breakfast and lunch.

Standard Gas Station

If you’re not in the mood for coffee, try a Liquid Sunshine, which is bursting with carrots, citrus and lemon.

Be sure to grab a free Filling Station logo sticker or set of matches to go. They’re adorable.

2. A Funky Coffee Shop Inside a Train Station

Parisi Coffee serves French press or pour-over coffee in the waiting room of Union Station, which was an active train station from 1914 – 1985. In its heyday around 670,000 people passed through the Beaux-Arts Classic Style building daily.  Sip your Italian beverage of choice, or mocha martini if after 5 p.m., while admiring the 108-foot ceilings inside the second-largest railroad station in the world.

3. Coffee in a Greenhouse

Café Equinox is the ultimate spot to sip a latte surrounded by ferns and fiddle-leaf figs. Located inside Family Tree Nursery in Shawnee, Mission, KS, you can enjoy a Thou Mayest coffee while you shop for a replacement plant or Koi pond for your backyard.

Family Tree Nursery

Arrive early on Saturdays as the place is ultra-popular. Then grab a leather chair near the home decor accessories and enjoy your coffee while you redecorate your house in your mind.

If you prefer more greens, take your coffee to the skylighted nursery where you can absorb chlorophyll with your caffeine.

4. On a Rooftop

Messenger Coffee in the Crossroads lets you take your coffee to a different level. Located in a three-story building, you can enjoy coffee while immersed in a panoramic view of downtown Kansas City. From this vantage point you can easily take pictures with the old Kansas City Star, Western Auto, Abdiana or Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts building as a selfie backdrop.

Messenger Coffee
Two women soak up the sun on the rooftop level of Messenger Coffee.

Messenger Coffee resembles a Chicago Crate and Barrel more than a coffee shop because of its massive footprint and ample views of the city and coffee production.

Messenger Coffee
At Messenger Coffee you can watch coffee being made on the second floor or bread being baked on the first floor.

5. In a Kansas City Art Gallery

Café Sebastienne is more of a restaurant than coffee shop, but we couldn’t resist including it on our list. The restaurant is a mind-blowing place to have coffee during brunch or coffee with dessert after viewing an art installation at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

It makes your coffee taste richer being surrounded by 110 interlocking paintings on the walls of the café commissioned by Frederick James Brown.

Cafe Sebastienne

If you like mixing coffee and art, consider treating yourself to coffee and a pastry at Café Tempo in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s located at 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210

Cafe Tiempo
Cafe Tiempo serves Roasterie coffee. It is located inside the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

6. In a Cat House

Whisker’s Cat Café is in a blink-and-you-missed-it strip shop on Southwest Boulevard. A visit requires reservations and costs $10 for a cup of coffee to help offset the care of the ten adoptable cats inside. There is parking in the rear.

Regular hours are 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Make reservations at whiskerskc.com.

7. In a Historic Library

The Central Library Coffee Shop is located on the first floor of Kansas City’s Central Library at 10th and Central. Its baristas serve either Messenger or Oddly Correct coffee. You can enjoy it in the café or put a lid on it and browse the books and artwork throughout the library.

Central Library Coffee

If you take cream or sugar with your coffee, you’ll love grabbing your packets from a vintage card file. Do you even remember the Dewey Decimal card file system?

Library Card File

Don’t neglect to check out the Stanley Durwood Film Vault on the basement level. The library shows movies in an old bank vault, which dates back to when the library was a First National Bank.

Bank Vault

8. In an Instagram-Worthy Motorcycle Shop

Blip Roasters brews its own beans in a warehouse in the West Bottoms. The owner Ian Davis, closed the both his Troost and West Bottoms locations during the pandemic, but rebounded with a 19,000 square foot warehouse close to its original location six years ago.

Blip’s new location includes a motorcycle accessories shop, a screen printing operation, a conference room, and office space available for lease.

Blip serves Chelsea’s Bakehaus Star Bars and Fletcher’s Sandwiches.

That completes were to get coffee in KC in the funkiest, coolest spaces around. Where will you get coffee in KC on your next visit?

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Photo Credit: Xochi on Unsplash

Brenda Geiger
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