Bustle Caffe – 535 W McGraw St., Seattle, WA
- Espresso: ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ⨷ ~
- Cycle accommodations: Limited secure – observable
- Cafe setting: ~ Bright, Well laid out, Tasteful
- Interior seating: ~ Many options, plenty of seating
- Exterior seating: ~ Available, not covered
- Pastry selection:~ Good selection – Sandwiches
Marking the last weekends of the 2013 winter, we made our first back to back ride of the year to properly close it out. Bainbridge Island delivered quality scenery and quiet roads, plus a few hills on Saturday. A Sunday ride to Alki Point punished us with a stiff headwind, however, we reaped the reward of the tailwind on the northbound return route. Boosted by the wind we raced along through Mrytle Edwards Park and took the newly opened pedestrian and bike bridge that provides safe passage across Elliott Ave to lower Queen Anne. Jettisoning us out directly onto 3rd Ave W., the bridge placed us into perfect alignment to make the climb to the top of Queen Anne and to our destination, Bustle Caffe.
With the exception of the flamboyant script of the sign, the exterior of Bustle Caffe looks a bit austere with a dark bronze colored metal siding. The building has history and was built over 100 years ago as a grocery store. It has been restored and retains some of its original decor inside. A patio embraces the west side of the shop and must be popular on a warm sunny day.
There is no convenient place to park and secure your bicycle. If traveling in a group, leaning the bikes against the outer wall seems the best option to be able to keep a safe eye on them. Being out on a solo ride, a telephone pole on the corner sufficed; we hope it was not visited by any doggies.
Inside, Bustle Caffe transforms from the dark bronze exterior into a delightfully bright cafe setting. Painted with a buttery yellow, the walls are warm and cheerful. Two floral center pieces were placed strategically on the tables; when combined with the north light of the windows, a spring like atmosphere was made. Two floral themed chandeliers complement the space well, we wondered if they were part the history of the building. There is a host of seating available, including a painted white bench and marble topped cafe tables. The front of the house is lively and social, and a back area provides opportunity for a more secluded and quiet setting. Free wi-fi is offered and there were a number of people making use of it. Bustle is dog friendly and has treats available for Rover. There was a pair of pudgy pugs hanging out with their moms during our visit.
The food selection is good with a healthy variety of choices. Fresh homemade pastries and organic sandwiches fill the case. In addition to coffee, they serve beer, wine, juices and “revitalizing elixirs”. Attibassi Italian espresso is the coffee of choice for Bustle. It is flown in weekly, as we understand, from Italy. Bustle’s web site says it is flown in from “Bologna Spain”. Without going to exhaustive research we are pretty confident that the coffee comes from Bologna, which is in the northern part of Italy. Just thought we would point that out if they want to fix the reference.
Riding the last leg of the hill climb up McGraw St. to reach our destination made us more than ready to revive with an espresso before the leg home. The baristas were very cheerful and engaged the customers pleasantly with conversation. We ordered our espresso; a soda water was provided as a compliment upon request. There were two working the bar and we were able to have the business of exchanging payment completed prior to the espresso being served. It was presented properly with a saucer and spoon. The aroma was pleasant. The crema was thick, rich, and sustained itself well. The color would be considered on the light side, perhaps it was the effects of the buttery yellow paint. The texture was creamy and flowed well across the palette. The flavor was good and progressed pleasantly to a sweet finish. As a bonus, if you order a second espresso it is only one dollar.
Bustle Caffe we enjoyed our espresso experience and give you a four out of five wheel rating. The baristas provided excellent service and made one feel welcome in the cafe. The atmosphere is pleasant, inviting and offers choices of seating. The espresso was good and the fullness of the crema was the highlight. It lacked just a bit of robustness of aroma and flavor. We will be back again to enjoy a quality espresso experience. Perhaps SDOT would be willing to add a bike rack out front if requested, click the SDOT link to learn more.
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*Paradoxical footnote: All the cafes we spend time to write about we recommend as destinations. We provide the honest feedback and rating of the espresso experience because we are interested to help cultivate the best success for future visits. Even though we may give the espresso experience a one wheel rating we can still love and recommend a visit to the cafe because of the overall character of place, amongst other qualities.
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