“I was certain that my passion, 25-plus years of experience and the ability to throw down one of the best cups of coffee around town would allow me to create a destination spot,” says Sheila Smith, owner of Southside Coffee Brew Bar in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Where people would be served the best coffee drinks along with getting some of the best customer service in St. Pete, and most certainly, the ‘best coffee in the ‘hood!’”

It’s true the Southside of St. Pete might seem like a little unconventional for a lesbian-owned business. But for those who live in the Sunshine City, and those who are quickly getting familiar with it as a hot vacation destination, know that the city’s LGBTQ community is interspersed throughout the city. There are LGBTQ-owned (and queer-friendly) businesses all over, typically adorned with a rainbow flag much like this particular coffee shop.

Southside Coffee
Donuts served during pride month (Image capture from Facebook). Comment on post: “Will these donuts make me more gay?” Southside’s response: “Yes”

Southside Coffee opened up shop in January 2015. It’s located close to the eclectic waterfront neighborhood of Coquina Key and right next door to one of the city’s famous local gems Munch’s Sundries & Restaurant, an old-school diner featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Smith, who started working as a barista in college before coming out in the ‘90s and then traveling around the country by van, has worked in all aspects of the industry from behind the bar to roasteries. She shared that she thought it was the perfect location because the area was in desperate need of a good coffee shop and local hangout. “The building had a history; once their local post office, I saw it as a perfect space for a coffee shop, also doubling as a Brew Lab for after-hours consulting and training programs.”

Southside Coffee
Besides coffee, there are locally brewed kombucha and kratom tea on tap, handcrafted organic teas, herbal drinks and more. There are also pastries that are baked fresh locally.

Patrons to this friendly coffee house can expect a full espresso bar, drip and pour over options, nitro cold brew, along with whole bean and ground fresh roasted coffees served in a cozy space with a lovely outdoor patio that’s perfect for enjoying the sunshine while you sip an early morning cup. Signature drinks include the Mexican Mocha, the French Latte and magic mocha made with organic raw cacao.

Besides coffee, there are locally brewed kombucha and kratom tea on tap, handcrafted organic teas, herbal drinks and more. There are also pastries that are baked fresh locally, including a large gluten-free selection.

“At Southside Coffee, we are always chasing perfection,” Smith says. “Coffee is one of those products where 100 percent quality, consistency and freshness matter. We offer some of the finest coffees from around the world, freshly roasted for peak flavor, brewed using state-of-the-art equipment and water filtering systems, all to capture and pour that perfect cup.”

Smith says Southside Coffee Brew Bar is all about the community, and it is a great spot to connect with others.

“Not only can you get a great cup of coffee, but also have some good conversation. Our customers mean the world to us. We care about you, your tastebuds, your hearts and souls, and overall well-being. So, stop by and experience something special, you deserve it!”

Southside Coffee Brew Bar is located at 3922 6th St South, (Next to Munch’s) St Petersburg, FL 33705.