I was in Old City this past Saturday with my mom and sisters after venturing out to an antique market; we made time for a cafe stop, and of course, I finally decided to check Menagerie Coffee off of my list. It was a sleeper that I missed when I was really frequenting the city for coffee stops a few years ago. I had seen it geotagged on friends' instagrams, and ocassionally in "the best of" lists in Philadelphia. Tucked away near a quiet corner on 3rd and Chestnut, it couldn't be more unassuming.
When you enter Menagerie, one of the immediate feelings that hits you is the earthy, quiet and cozy atmsophere. Thankfully, Menagerie is bigger than your average hole-in-the-wall cafe, with extra seating in the back. However, the the most beautiful and appealing part of the cafe is its entrance. The exposed brick walls bring an authentic Old City feel, while the wood paneling and chunky floating shelves bring a sense of urban warmth to the room. Menagerie's decor is undone, delicate, yet industrialist.
I ordered the honey spiced cortado. A cortado is a small drink that is an even balance of espresso and steamed milk. At $5, it was a bit steep, but it was a special item on the menu and I decided to give it a go. I loved the taste - it was definitely nutty, and almost gingery. By some stroke of luck we scored a seat in the back and immediately struck up a conversation with two dental students studying for an upcoming exam. Our exchange was so delightful - we talked of everything from road trips and travel, politics, to empowering young students, especially girls, to reach for their dreams. It was such a pleasant conversation and we all agreed that it was so nice to be able to talk about such things, as strangers, with a sense of kindness and acceptance. Why can't all strangers be this sweet!? They were even sweeter than the sugary ginger cookie that came with my cortado...
18 S. 3rd Street
Old City | Philadelphia