This summer I have been working on a Pittsburgh city guide for Eat this Poem and pretty much obsessively visiting any coffee shop in Pittsburgh that instagram shows can make a pretty latte. Yesterday I stopped by two coffee shops in that grey area that might be Lawrenceville but is probably Bloomfield.
Constellation Coffee and 4121 Main are similar in the sense that they booth provide their patrons with a hip atmosphere and somewhat overpriced speciality coffee drinks. I am in now way bashing the fact that the drinks are expensive. You show up to these places for the express purpose of paying $5 for someone to draw a leaf with milk in your coffee... and please! in most cities you would be paying upwards of $9 for this service!
These two coffee joints are located about a block away from each other, but have very different atmospheres. Depending on the mood you are in, you may want to pick one over the other....
Despite the title, I am not pinning these two shops against each other. They are very different, and here is why...
This is your average college town coffee shop meets Portlandia... or I guess, college coffee shop meets Pittsburgh. Every human in this establishment will be doing work on a macbook and listening to music on gigantic headphones, with the exception of the token hipster who is reading a book while texting on their flip phone.
This is the coffee shop you want to go to if you are trying to get work done, but also maybe want to instagram your latte while you are there. There are many tables to choose from to post up and "do work" (in quotes because I saw a lot of facebook going on), but not many outlets, so there is a slight 'lord of the flies' vibe in regards to that.
For the most part, the coffee was delicious and did the trick. They are slanging Ceremony Coffee, and serve espresso, drip, lattes, ect.
This place gets pretty crowded with people doing work or stopping through to get their caffeine fix. There is definitely space for conversation with friends, and you may even get to overhear how someone's rent went up, as I did. However, if catching up with a friend over coffee is your motive, then I would suggest heading to.....
On the other hand, if you whip out your laptop at 4121 Main, no one is going to kick you out, but you certainly are going to be judged.
The focus here is on coffee house conversation, and 4121 Main certainly provides a beautiful atmosphere for that. The shop also does beautiful floral arrangements and looks like a coffee shop in a flower jungle.
The coffee and tea variety is much more expansive than constellation, with featured lattes (I got a maple-lavender latte) and a gigantic wall of teas.
Here the focus is on the drink, and the atmosphere. 4121 Main has both covered.