A Fly on the Wall

A fly on the wall – a people watcher. They can be found in every nook of Charleston, watching and observing. In coffee shops alone, interesting perspectives can be discovered through the eyes of the fly. Moments witnessed can leave hearts touched, or create small chuckles hiding behind hands. Moments can sometimes disappoint, while others can open eyes to a new outlook and perspective on the world.

From the Charleston coffee shop flies ourselves, we’d like to thank you – for the laughs, smiles, hugs, dances, blushing cheeks, frustrated sighs and so many more moments that you didn’t even realize you let us participate in.



Modern day with a dash of traditional is the vibe when walking into Bakehouse. A variety of books, from Twilight to Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, go unnoticed in nooks and crannies while the atmosphere embraces the spacious, light and bareness that is popular in it’s contemporary design.

Located in the heart of one of the busiest tourist spots in downtown – East Bay Street – this coffee shop gets a pretty uneven mix of tourists and locals with the scale leaning heavily towards the tourist side. Most customers sit at booths or the community table with a map in hand, discussing where to adventure to next while sipping on a choice of coffee, tea, soda or even beer.

Booths are spacious, allowing families to fill one for a midday treat, with kids slurping on frappes and smoothies while parents sit back and crack open a craft beer. An older man can be found sitting alone and drinking coffee while studying a map of Charleston.

Students can too hangout and take candid pictures with coffees by the window, creating the perfect natural lighting for a trendy Instagram aesthetic. It can simultaneously be a place students and adults alike can hold meetings or work on homework, projects or business on computers – over phone calls or just discussing amongst fellow coffee-goers.

Whether sitting in a booth, at the community table, or in the comfy chairs in the back room surrounded by a wall of books, the Bakehouse is there to welcome with open arms and a hot cup of coffee or a cold craft beer – and a map or book if needed.



Dinosaurs and coffee – two things that hardly come together as a common pair, yet somehow Tricera makes it work. Located conveniently in between the College of Charleston’s campus and King Street, Tricera Coffee is a melting pot of Charleston culture. From tourists, to locals, to college students, Tricera has seen it all. People stroll in and out while stragglers file to the edges of the shop, pulling out laptops and plugging in headphones, disappearing from the real world to indulge in decadent coffee and work. Friends stumble in laughing, ready to catch up. Students slump to the desk, ready for a daily caffeine reimbursement. People sit at the bar, peering outside the big glass windows, scrutinizing individuals walking past.

While many coffee shops attract one crowd or the other, Tricera brings all individuals together for a quick second or two.

Photo by Missy McConnell


City Lights

The back corner booth of City Lights Coffee provides the perfect vantage point to understand one of the busiest streets in Charleston – Market Street. Chestnut-stained woodwork line the floors, walls, bench and coffee bar, which takes up the majority of the space. Various chairs with red leather and wood backings sit opposite the built-in booth and the bar lies adjacent. The space is small, cozy and extremely friendly. Each barista serves customers with a smile, offering conversation to strangers and friendly remarks to the regulars.

Coffee is an art at City Lights – every latte made with care, every espresso and cappuccino perfected and every drip coffee poured cheerfully. Customers take artistic pictures of their drinks, making sure to frame the coffee bar that is topped off with string lights.

Far beyond the baristas just knowing their order, the regulars help the employees carry in groceries from the car – the employees and regulars know each other personally. A mixture of jazzy tunes and throwback hits, from “It’s Tricky” to “Don’t Stop Believin’,” can be heard bringing the ambiance to life.

City Lights is a cozy living room to the regulars and a jackpot stop to the tourists. While a lot of  traffic flows through Market Street, not everyone notices the little green awning labeled “coffee.” To sit in a booth at City Lights is to take in the hustle and bustle that Charleston has to offer. It’s a city full of charm and City Lights is the place to embrace that charm, whether on the go or looking to stick around for a while.


Starbucks at Addlestone Library

The library is a place to study and stress, but the Starbucks of Addlestone is a place that holds much more than just students looking for a place to fill up on caffeine for all-nighters or to cram for projects and papers.

With a constant flow of students and faculty alike at this Starbucks, the line twists and turns between tables filled with students. While some still stress out in the noisy, active environment, from spilling a venti hot coffee moments after sitting down to working for hours on a procrastinated essay, there are still good times that come out of this Starbucks.

Like the girl that danced in line to Ed Sheeran playing over the speakers, or even the guy that told his group of friends that he was “finally dating that girl” and then they all got their phones out simultaneously to creep on her. There’s the two guys with Under Armour backpacks that come in every morning together, laughing and smiling, or the man that prayed and blessed his breakfast sandwich and apple juice before eating, or the guy that recited his own poetry to a girl at the table in the back.

The diverse vibe includes sorority laptop stickers and fraternity shirts, feminist tee’s, LGBTQ buttons on backpacks, colorful hair, trendy hipsters and athletes.

Every customer and student that walks through one of the two entrances into the busy, boisterous environment of Starbucks is different and unique, but most all have one aspect in common. They are a part of the community that not only makes up Charleston but makes up the College of Charleston – oh, and they all check themself out in the mirror that covers the back wall.


Charleston is much more than the number two city in the world. The history, culture, vibrant colors, exquisite views and warm weather are nothing without the people who visit it. The booth’s of Charleston coffee shops show many perspectives of the city– it’s up to the person to determine what they’re going to take away from what they see.


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