With as many locally-owned coffee shops and restaurants as there are in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, it should come as no surprise that when the holidays come around so do a wide array of seasonal beverages: holiday roasts, lattes, cocktails, and more. Below are a few favorites we've seen generating local buzz. Before you visit, please be sure to read about our latest safety protocols. Wearing a mask is required in all public spaces.
Grit's cafes are beloved by locals and visitors alike. In 2018, after about a decade of serving coffee here in Charlottesville, they started their own roasting operation. Learn more about their many pickup locations, or take a look at their online shop.
This is the local go-to for paffles and coffee. Order holiday beverages (like the hot chocolate pictured below) and gigantic paffles (also pictured) to go. What's a paffle? An all butter puff pastry baked on a waffle iron packed full of the sweet or savory. After picking up from Iron Paffles' convenient downtown location, you might stroll along the decorated downtown mall and take a look at the holiday tree there. We've included an image of one of their paffles for reference--they're huge and delicious.
Shenandoah Joe's holiday blend is now available! Grab yourself a cup at their Ivy Road coffee bar, near the University at their Corner Joe location on West Main Street, or from their main location on Preston Avenue near Dairy Market. Shenandoah Joe has been served in Charlottesville and Albemarle County since 2007. They roast their coffee by hand and do so with great care and attention to detail. For a quick peek at their roastery and one of their locations, check out their Nickel Tour.
Mudhouse operates several coffeehouses in Charlottesville and Albemarle County: one on the downtown mall, one in Crozet, and one on 10th street not far from the University of Virginia. If you're looking for holiday cheer, you'll find it no matter which location you visit.
Java Java, a family-run coffee shop, has been open for business on the downtown mall since 2006. They specialize in fair trade coffee and teas, but also serve paninis and smoothies. Their outdoor patio now has six tables, each spaced to ensure social distancing. Should you find yourself near the eastern end of the downtown mall near the Sprint Pavilion, be sure to check out Java Java!
Tavola, open by reservation only, makes a festive Berry and Bright cocktail accented by a delightful range of fruity notes. Be sure to ask for it should you opt to dine in. Tavola's menu changes seasonally, and features a wide range of Italian fare. The ingredients for each dish are of exception quality. The servers are extremely knowledgeable, and will be of great help with suggestions for wine or dishes which complement one another.
Three Notch'd has been bringing the holiday cheer every day of December. They go all out for the holidays, bringing customers snow-themed deals and small batch brews. Order a beer to go from their downtown craft kitchen and brewery location at IX Art Park. And be sure to check them out on social media! Their creative brewmaster is always coming up with new flavors and fresh takes on their staple brews. First open for business in August of 2013, Three Notch'd quickly became a Charlottesville staple. Their full service kitchen offers dine-in, delivery, takeout, and curbside service. Be sure to check their website before visiting for the latest hours and safety protocols.
The above are, of course, but a handful of the seasonal offerings here in Charlottesville this winter. There are more besides! If you'd love to visit one of the above restaurants or cafes, but would prefer to wait until later in 2021, many of these establishments sell gift cards online. As the name suggests, they make great gifts. While you're here, stay on the lookout for holiday decorations, of which there are many. A warm, festive drink pairs well with a stroll on a temperate winter's day.