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Into Shelley’s Belly: The Alcove

The Bar (left); Alcove (right)
The Bar (left); Alcove cappuccino (right)

I tipped my cappuccino just slightly toward my nose and drifted into a frothy, coffee fueled warmth of mind and it descended into my chest. You know the flash that flies through your brain and body as the first hint of coffee aroma lifts you into your day. Your eyes sink heavily behind your lids. For a moment, you become a part of that wandering sinewy transcendence that calms and invigorates with resplendent escape. It’s a pleasure and necessity for many, and there is a new contender on the block that you should consider when planning where to grab that first cup before you launch into your day with vigor and success-crushing determination. Most of you probably know The Alcove as a craft beer and wine bar, but in November they started offering fine espresso drinks from behind that same bar.

The Alcove has always been a wonderful place to enjoy a fine glass of wine while relaxing on one of the comfy couches or to grab a craft beer and sit at the brushed metal bar. The atmosphere has a modern zest with a living room persona of comfort and cleanliness, and the ambience recalls Santa Fe’s laissez faire tone and sensibility. The artwork on the walls is wine inspired and leaves a bit to be desired, but The Alcove is a cozy respite from the meat-headed buffoonery that pervades its Uptown location. They also have a projector that displays to the large screen on the north wall, which is perfectly suitable for game watching. The staff is friendly, welcoming, and well informed, and as you can probably tell, I really like this place. In the morning, there is plenty of parking along the street, and the bathrooms are clean. Now, onto their new offerings.

The Ethiopian Black Beauty
The Ethiopian Black Beauty
The Bar (left); Muffin, meh (right)
The Bar (left); Muffin, meh (right)

The Alcove possesses a maturity and quiet that has held it well for the last three years, and it’s with this naturally progressive momentum that they venture well into the world of espresso and artisan-inspired coffee. I started out with a cappuccino, as I always do, and it had a petite bitter twist of dense espresso that smoothed out with ease. It was lightly foamed and delivered with excitement from the knowledgeable barista. He was passionate and informed about the coffees, and he shared the origin and profile with every patron that visited. At one point, he remarked on the environmental friendliness of shade-grown coffee without the slightest hint of arrogance. Todd, the barista, worked fluidly at the Synesso Espresso Machine that was handcrafted in Seattle, Washington. They offer locally roasted Eiland Coffee and Noble Coyote Coffee. I decided to taste one of their muffins to accompany my cup, and was underwhelmed. It was a pasty, sticky little muffin with little to offer in the way of flavor, and I decided against the croissant, as it looked like a similarly disappointing piece of bread. There is substantial room for improvement here, and I expect them to reach out as the morning business grows, or at least I hope they do.

The Synesso Espresso Machine
The Synesso Espresso Machine

I finished with a simple black coffee from Ethiopa that turned out to be anything but simple. This smoky skinned Nubian beauty graced my mouth with depth and darkness that lingered tenderly on my palate. It was intensely dark and smooth, rich in its body and tempered with a light cacao in its finish. Some artistic consideration was taken in coordinating the bean-to-water ratio of this pot, and that comes with experience and skill. This is one tremendous cup of black coffee, outstanding and exhilarating. I would love to try their latte and I hope that more people discover their morning offerings. The Alcove will live on and continue to embody the simple elegance and care that has gotten them so far, and while I hope they correct their pastry shortcomings, I will surely return for the coffee.

  • Todd V.W.

    Thanks for stopping by, Matthew! Glad you enjoyed the coffee. Be sure to come back and see what we’re brewing next! -Todd

  • Alcove Wine Dallas

    Thanks for the kind words, Matthew. We really do try to make sure our customers have a good experience every time they visit us. I hope you will return soon and see how we’re doing.

  • Judy Purdy

    Thank you so much, Mr. Shelley, for your wonderful article! I’m so happy you enjoyed your visit! Your comments are greatly appreciated! I promise to resolve the “pastry shortcomings” before you come in for your next cup of coffee, cappuccino or latte! Your next cup is on me…. :)

  • Judy Purdy

    Great job, Todd! Thank YOU for representing The Alcove with GR8 coffee and fantastic customer service! Hugs, judy

  • Luiz Vasquez

    The Coffee is Awesome and Todd is a cool guy?

  • Luiz Vasquez

    The Coffee is Awesome and Todd is a cool guy?

  • Alison

    LOVE this place!!! :)

  • Kay

    Love this place! I am an alcoholic who has been sober for two years. When I discovered the Alcove in my neighborhood, I wanted to sit in their outdoor area, but confessed to the waiter that I couldn’t order any of their fine wine or beer. I never expected the waiter to tell me that the Alcove stocks high quality tasty nonalcoholic beer (yes, tasty nonalcoholic beer does exist) for people like me. The staff at the Alcove has consistently gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and stay sober. Now that I know they serve coffee… even better…

  • Jim Holcomb

    I agree!! The best coffee in Dallas!!

  • Robin Roberson

    It has been delightful learning more about coffee, how it is grown and how a good cup is brewed. Todd is so knowledgeable and informative and turning me into a coffee and Chai tea lover. The Alcove has such a great selection of wines from around the world and trying new varetals is fun. The patio is great and the staff sincere in wanting to know who you are and what you like. The review, Mr. Shelley, was right on and I will share it with my friends. It will be exciting to read what you recommend around town and I look forward to future reviews of the Alcove! Thanks, Robin Roberson

  • LeAnn Ross

    Great job of letting everyone know about this fantastic sounding place and when we go through town
    we will try to find it!

  • Stephanie Burge

    Definitely the best coffee in Big D!!

  • Ryan Holloway

    The Alcove is a great spot to visit, and now, you can visit all hours of the day. Todd is amazing at what he does, and I don’t know how the Alcove found him but I am glad they did. I try to have all of my morning coffee meetings in this gem of a location. A million times better than the corporate run coffee shops of the world, both in character and quality of beverage. They also of course have some really good wine and beers on hand, but everyone knows that already ~ Ryan

  • Phillip Archer

    I could not agree more. The Alcove is one of my FAVORITE little places to hang out with a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, an amazing beer – or to have a small meeting or presentation. I even meet my banker there from time to time to do business. The service is beyond excellent – the people are beyond friendly – and if you are looking for your own quiet little “alcove”, the secret is out.

  • Que

    Great job guys! You deserve it.

  • Chuck Kobdish

    A great place to meet over coffee. I tried their cappuccino last week… Awesome! Definitely a “go-to” spot in Uptown Dallas.