By: Sally Baker

There’s nothing like a genuine coffee shop owned by locals in the community. It’s at these places that owners tend to offer a more homey feel, vintage couches, acoustic music and open mic nights. A place where we can go to drink our cappuccinos out of a giant mug and not a cardboard cup. Sure the corporate chains make a good mocha, but what about the lack of experience? Thankfully, there are a few genuine coffee shops in Tampa, locally owned, for our sipping and relaxing pleasure.

The Bunker – Located in Ybor City, The Bunker is a great coffee shop in Tampa with an atmosphere that falls nothing short of unique. Calling themselves the living room of Ybor City, they invite guests to sit back, relax and enjoy the room. Supporting local artists, having pajama friendly movie nights, and providing live music from local musicians are just a few of the reasons people prefer this Tampa coffee shop to the chains. They sell organic, fair trade products and enjoy impacting the community and economy in positive ways.

Cafe Hey – Another favorite to the locals who know their coffee shops in Tampa, Cafe Hey provides movie nights every other Friday with local and classic films, open mic nights on Thursdays with poetry, live music and performances, art shows and more. They have days like "Study Hall Sundays" and have been known to make up events on the fly, leaving the unexpected open for all. Checking out this Tampa coffee shop on an event night seems to be the prime choice for coffee lovers.

Felicitous – Open mic nights, live music, local arts and handmade goods are just a few of the traits that make this Tampa coffee shop special. Felicitous has created several specialty drinks for coffee nuts like Mississippi Love, Peppermint Phaddy and the Canadiano, which is 4 shots of espresso and brewed coffee! Not forgetting the vintage and plush furniture making it a dream to surf the web or read a book. Poetry slams, knitting and game board nights are a common occurrence here. Finally, Felicitous portrays to be a pet friendly coffee shop in Tampa and hosts the last Saturday of the month as "Doggie Day at the Café."

Sacred Grounds – This Tampa coffee shop is perfect for students at the University of South Florida. Nearby the campus, Sacred Grounds offers open mic nights and a very relaxing atmosphere. This place does not require visitors to be students as you will often see people of many professions frequent here.

Buddy Brew Coffee – Although not an actual coffee house, Buddy Brew Coffee is important to mention. The owners here loved coffee so much that they set out on an adventure to find the perfect cup. With their travels and expertise, this family now offers Tampa what they claim to be the best cup of coffee around. Hand roasted to perfection from fresh green coffee beans from around the world, Buddy Brew Coffee gives us the ability to transform our living room into our own coffee shop in Tampa.