Ultimo is the coffee shop where my brain is most at ease. When we run out of coffee at home, Ultimo is where I head to buy beans and get a quick fix until we can get our French Press going at home.
I love to work at Ultimo because it has so many clean lines and beautiful blond wood. It’s a good place for working on creative projects because there isn’t anything visually distracting--it’s all very plain, without being cloyingly sleek. Before this Ultimo opened I frequented the Brew/Ultimo in New Bold, which also has beer, and thus has a very different vibe. I prefer this Ultimo because it’s close enough to walk to in five minutes, and because it has a nice intensity to it. I feel like it’s a place to buckle down and create.
The coffee is uniformly excellent at Ultimo, and they pour a gorgeous latte. However, I must warn you against Dottie’s Doughnuts, which look beautiful, but in my experience taste lousy. The other pastries are very good, but I skip the bagels at Ultimo because they’re a bit white bread for me. Instead, get one of their bars (the sweet kind, with a crumbly streudel topping), and take it outside to either the tables just on the other side of the glass doors, or the little garden deck area in the street.
What I worry about at Ultimo: My hair. It is newly neon purple on one side, and while I work I keep getting distracted by it out of the corner of my eye. I also worry about religious extremism. The last time I was here I had coffee with Jonny Rashid of Circle of Hope. He’s a pastor at a church, and I help organize an independent Jewish community. Our conversation was fun and easy, but somehow it made me more worried about religious extremism, not less. If it’s this easy for us to get along and enjoy hanging out, why isn’t it happening more? I also worried about getting to daycare on time for pickup.
What I work on at Ultimo: Coffeedelphia. And also, something about the Israeli Black Panthers.
Coffee: Counter Culture
Address: 2149 Catherine St, Philadelphia PA 19146
Hours: M-F 7-7, S-S 8-7
Wifi: Free, pw changes but is written by the register on a little piece of paper
Seating: tables and chairs inside, a few bar stools. Additional tables and chairs outside.