Espresso Royale — I get chills just typing it. Need coffee? Tea? Food? A place to study? A place to meet new people, old people, people you kind of know but not really? Espresso Royale has it all. What makes Espresso Royale that great? Every coffee shop has coffee (duh). They all have tea, food, study spots and places to chat with friends, but they don’t all have the right vibe. Espresso Royale has a vibe that can vibe with anyone. At any given time, you’ll not only see that hipster in your film class, but you’ll also spot a group of sorority girls studying for their Comm test and a tenured professor reading the newspaper in an oversized armchair. Non-University affiliated locals pop in and out and if you haven’t seen a friend in a while, odds are you’ll be able to catch their beautiful face at Espresso.

Espresso-goers aside, the vibe is enhanced by solid playlists of varying music. Sometimes “Mr. Brightside” will permeate the air and it’ll take a tremendous amount of willpower to not belt the lyrics; other times, smooth jazz will make you feel like you’re in an Oscar-winning movie scene. The lighting is also stellar; go to the Espresso on South University if you vibe with natural lighting, but if you vibe with “I want dim, cozy lighting where I can still stay awake while reading Shakespeare” then go to the Espresso on State. Limited seating is an issue that plagues most coffee shops, but not Espresso — not only will you always have seats to choose from, but you’ll always have an outlet at your disposal. So who’s the real winner here? That’s right, you are.

Vibe aside, Espresso Royale is the best coffee shop in Ann Arbor because Espresso baristas are, very simply, the best. Unlike several other coffee shops in Ann Arbor (which I won’t name), baristas at Espresso Royale aren’t pretentious. They won’t judge you for ruining the coffee with flavored syrup and they’ll always make your “soy matcha latte, light on the matcha with an extra pump of vanilla” with a smile. They’ll even go so far as to put sugar-free vanilla syrup in your house blend when you’re sad that they’re out of French vanilla roast, because that’s just what Espresso Royale does.

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