« Concourse Hotel Bar | Main | Copper Top Restaurant »

Cool Beans Coffee Cafe

In a word: Polished corporate coffee minus the corporate.

The specs: #0096
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; review of wifi/outlets at stevienova; official web site; Cool Beans Coffee Cafe on Urbanspoon

JM and Nichole both ate a chocolate chip scone. JM had an Apple & Eve juice box and Nichole had a cup of Ancora d'Oro.
The bill was about $5, or $2.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Cool Beans a B-; Nichole gave Cool Beans a C+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Cool Beans Coffee Cafe news and reviews

We hardly gave poor Cool Beans a chance, having run out of time for all but a rushed breakfast, and even then we both ate chocolate chip scones. They were tasty, and the kind server had even warmed them up (had they been frozen for transport?). The coffee was hot and fresh, though at $1.55 for 12 oz. slightly more expensive than average.  JM likes juice boxes and Nichole often won't let him have one.

According to its web site, Cool Beans seeks to have the "urbane sophistication of a New York City bistro mingled with the Bohemian ambiance of Madison's Willy Street." While we can't judge the former, we found nary a trace of the latter. Cool Beans felt almost exactly like a Borders bookstore cafe.

But don't take our word for it, as the lunch and dinner menu looks promising; even so, we can't imagine making another special trip deep into EastTowne territory just for a "Princeton Club" wrap.

The name, however, is perfect. It's no stretch to imagine the place enjoyed by folks who can say "Cool beans!" and mean it.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I stopped in once on my way to a Dr's Appt. (UW East Towne clinic is right around the corner) and was pleasantly surprise to find a very cool children's corner. Thoughtfully designed, with a narrow entrance to keep kids corralled. Nice touch...but not a great location for us on a regular basis.

If by New York bistro they mean Starbucks, Cosi or Au Bon Pain theyb might be right (none of which are actually original to NY). The best coffee I've had in NY to date have been at hole in the wall delis and barkeries that serve coffee to go in the styrofoam Greek key cups.

The children's nook must be new--the last time I was in Cool Beans, my children seemed sorely out of place. I was undecided about the atmosphere, kind of comfy but kind of cold.

I just checked out their website and was a little baffled by their children's menu featuring a "juice box of milk." A juice box of mild? Funny how a little thing like that can brighten my day. Not as great as the time I started crying, and my friend said "You're such a loaf of toast." A loaf of toast? I loved it. Or the time Carlos exclaimed "Holy sparkles!" out of the blue. Not that great, but it made me smile.

I live on the far East side and frequent Cool Beans. There aren't many places on this side of town where you can sit for hours just studying & drinking coffee/tea. It definitely has found its niche in my world, with the couch area & fireplace. It's a great place to be on a cold & dreary day, especially if you have a cup of their fragrant & tasty Market Spice tea! I would suggest you don't order salad there, though. The lettuce has seen better days.

I am so sad that you didn't give Cool Beans a chance with a latte and some lunch. Perhaps that was not around when you did your review. Their dining menu is fabulous (think Panera, but far tastier and with local ingredients), and I often enjoy a weekend lunch with a latte. I hope that you'll go back off-list to try them again.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Listen to The Corner Table podcast "Remembering Restaurants," aired December 24, 2020, where Chris and Lindsay talk with us "about the menus and memories left behind when restaurants go away."

Madison Food coverInfo about our book Madison Food: A History of Capital Cuisine is here, or read it for free thanks to the library - print & ebook.



About Follow madisonatoz on Twitter Contact
Blogroll Ad 
Free Blog
Read our book and food tour
Dish du jour Creative Commons License subscribe to RSS Subscribe
Memo to restaurants Bloggers' Rights at EFF Quizzes
Reflections BlogWithIntegrity.com Tip jar
Banner image by Kayla Morelli, Red Wheelbarrow Design