4 Helena Coffee Shops To Visit
Updated: May 18, 2018
Storytelling by Whitney Mitchell
In high school, I worked at the local café. In my small town, the café was the breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot and I served coffee to the regulars on summer mornings. My college years and coffee shops were synonymous to the extent my senior year apartment was directly above the local coffee shop for students. Ten years later, as a new mom with a husband and a household budget, I have a ritual called Latte Friday. Once a week I treat myself to a drive-thru coffee or tea, or I walk down the Gulch to one of my favorite shops.
I don’t have a go-to beverage, but order what sounds inspiring and luxurious. There are a lot of fun things to do in Helena, MT, including several unique, locally-owned coffee shops, kiosks, and the a couple of the ever familiar, Starbucks. All of which, as you’ll read, allow me to indulge in luxurious tasting beverages. If you’re willing to hop off Interstate 15 for a few minutes, or even if you’ve lived here for years, these local coffee shops are worth a visit any time of day.
General Mercantile Whether you’re looking for old fashioned candy, unique and quirky gift ideas, a delicious cup of drip coffee or loose-leaf steeped tea, you can find it all at Helena’s General Mercantile located at 413 N Last Chance Gulch. For 45 years, the General Mercantile has been a hole-in-the-wall destination for those wanting a unique coffee shop experience. Visitors are met with a nostalgic charm that makes you feel like you’re in a general merc from days of yore. The beauty is in in the detailed design: interior wood found in the building is over 100 years old and salvaged from barns all over Montana; the coffee machines are antiques from the 1950’s and every cup is made fresh to order; and the walls are filled with old-fashioned and modern candies, as well as gift ideas for everyone.
FireTower Coffee House & Roasters Across the street from the General Mercantile at 422 N Last Chance Gulch, this coffee shop’s name is a nod to the historical fire watchtower that was constructed in the 1870’s and is fondly referred to as the “Guardian of the Gulch.” FireTower Coffee is known for their artisan coffee roasts, which you can sip on at their location, or purchase to take home with you. For those with a more unique pallet, my go-to is a London Fog (combination of Earl Grey tea, steamed milk and vanilla), and I substitute the vanilla with lavender syrup and sweeten it with honey. A full menu of drinks and food is available on their website.
Hub Coffee Located up the block at 314 N Last Chance Gulch, near the Walking Mall, Hub Coffee has a modern industrial vibe with floor-length, street-facing windows, vaulted ceilings, concrete flooring, and a front patio strung with sparkling bistro lights. You can enjoy warm breakfast foods like an egg bake, or have a lunch of soup, made to order sandwiches, or pick from a salad bar with fresh ingredients and healthy options (raw pumpkin seeds, for example). As for the drinks, you can order any coffee drink your heart desires, but pause for a second to look at their menu boards where you’ll find original, mouthwatering combinations such as my personal favorites, White Coconut Crème tea, Rose Chai tea. They even offer boozy coffee creations!
Not to be confused with FireTower Coffee by those just passing through, Fireside Coffee is located on the west end at 1446 Euclid Avenue. What you’ll notice first when you walk in is the abundance of brightly colored, lounge furniture. The cozy atmosphere is exactly what you’d imagine for a coffee shop called Fireside. Sip on a warm latte and curl up on a couch while you escape reality with a good book. Don’t forget to try one of their wild berry scones – they are unique from other scones, soft like a muffin and quite large.
Coffee Kiosks If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to stop by a coffee shop, there are a handful of kiosks you can cruise through for a cup of good stuff:
Copperline Pasty Company is a coffee and pasty (pronounced pas-tee) shop running out of a re-purposed Air Stream located at 1018 W Custer Avenue. What the heck is a pasty?
Florence Coffee is family owned and operated out of western Montana and has 3 kiosk locations in Helena: 595 N Lamborn St, 1822 E Custer Ave, & 1225 Euclid Ave.
City Brew is locally owned in Billings, Montana and celebrating 20 years of business. There are 3 kiosk locations in Helena: 1732 Prospect Ave, 2910 N Montana Ave, & 965 E Lyndale Ave.
No matter what kind of coffee shop vibe you’re looking for in Helena, you’re bound to find something that will meet your tastes in town. Let us know about your own experiences by commenting below, or tag us on Facebook or Instagram when you visit the shops.
If you're not in the mood for coffee, check out one of the five local breweries in town!