Rival Bros feels like fancy Brooklyn to me. The design is a weird and wonderful combination of modernist and steampunk, and the coffee is divine. I usually get lattes at Rival, and they are exceptionally smooth and creamy, but their pour over and chemex are also favorites. The baristas play great and unusual tunes, and at least one has the baritone voice of my dreams. Lots of great Philly coffee shops don't really have sandwiches, so props to Rival for bucking the trend and having excellent sandwiches, toasts, and unusual pastries. I <3 the Alain Delon, a vegetarian sandwich, and heartily recommend the Ricotta Toast as well, but usually I forgo the savory for the date tea cake (not too sweet or sticky, but still wonderfully date-y) and the Kouign Annan, a pastry that was once featured on The Great British Baking Show. Let me testify: sublime.
It can be hard to get your own table at Rival, but people are usually happy to share with you, and there are a decent amount of outlets available. Lots of people working on laptops, of course, but also a nice number of people writing on actual paper, or reading books and papers. A few tables outside are good for low-key people watching and dog petting.
Best conversation I've overheard there/Thing I worried about at Rival: A man and a woman working at separate tables. He asks if she will plug his computer in, hears her German accent and strikes up a conversation in German. I don't speak German, but I did recognize the following words in their ensuing 10ish minute discussion: Nazi, powerpoint, Neo-Nazi, voter behavior, mathematics of voting.
Coffee: Rival Bros
Location: 2400 Lombard, Philadelphia PA 19146
Hours: 7-7 every day
Wifi: Free, but you must provide your email and re-up every hour
Seating: A very small bench with a coffee table, 2 window seats (no stools, good for standing) and about 7 2-tops inside, plus 2-3 tables outside if weather is nice.