Our Top 5 coffee shops in the CBD

From Mecca coffee roasters to the most tiny place in the QVB, all we check is whether they have exquisite coffee…

Single O CBD

89 York St Sydney 2000

Single O has expanded to three shops throughout Sydney including its espresso bar in the CDB. Inspired by their Surry hills takeaway window there are only a few spots to sit, catering to those who pick up their coffee and head to work. 

Even though it’s a grab and go location, the interior, designed by Luchetti Krelle, makes you want to stay. The entire space inspired by coffee, with paper and filtration a noticeable theme. 

Continuing on its eco-consciousness from other locations, takeaway something to eat in compostable containers. 

Insta @single_o

Mecca Coffee CBD

67 King Street Sydney 2000

Opened in 2005 by two instrumental players in Sydney’s speciality coffee scene, Mecca coffee has since expanded to a second location in Ultimo and a roaster and headquarters in Alexandria. 

Its short menu is geared towards the metro location, making it the perfect takeaway spot for an office lunch. However, there are a few more seats available than other bar-style coffee shops in the area. This makes it a great location to sit for a meeting or to relax, sip slowly and people watch. While you’re there, feel free to pick up beans or coffee making materials for home too. 

Insta @meccacoffee

Skittle Lane

40 King Street Sydney 2000

Visit this beautifully minimalistic space to try their own seasonal blend, pick up a Penny Fours croissant or sample their unexpected sandwich selection. Taking a page from Melbourne’s iconic laneway cafes, Skittle Lane brings something unique to Sydney’s CBD. 

Getting its name from the nearby laneway, this historic spot was once used as a bowling alley. With soldiers and sailors often hanging out to bowl, historians say questionable activity often took place. Luckily for coffee-lovers, this cafe is today’s most exciting event in Skittle Lane.

While you’re there, check out the retail section that holds their ceramics collections in partnership with designers from around Australia. 

Insta @skittlelanecoffee

Cross Eatery

From one of Mecca’s former baristas comes Cross Eatery, aimed at creating something a little more spacious in the CBD. Moving away from the cramped takeaway spots throughout the city, and replaced with welcome tranquillity, this cafe resides in the lobby of the heritage Red Cross building. 

The chalkboard menu features fresh offerings that include options for takeaway or dine-in, and supplier stories can be found through photos at the entrance. And of course, the richly brewed coffee is expertly poured and ready for your after lunch pick-me-up. 

Insta @crosseatery

Gumption by Coffee Alchemy

Shop 11, The Strand Arcade, 412-414 George St

Located in the historic Strand Arcade, Gumption is the perfect spot to stop for a coffee while shopping in the CBD, or on your way to work. 

If you’ve been to the Coffee Alchemy roastery and cafe in Marrickville, this espresso bar may feel familiar. Looking to branch out from its roots, the second shop prefers to create a new path from their original space. The excellent coffee stays the same, however. They’ve won a number of awards for their coffee, including Australian Barista Champion title, so you know they’re doing something right.

Take a seat and sip your flat white as the sun shines through the skylights of the Strand, giving it an oasis feel in the centre of the city. Be sure to visit during Christmas when the arcade is festively decorated and feels like you might be in a division of Santa’s workshop.