News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood


#Mugshot Monday #9 – The Spirit of the Buffalo Thunders at Cafe Solstice

October 21st, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

The first thing I decide when I’m standing in the ordering line at Cafe Solstice is; if the zombie apocalypse happens I could b-line it here and be happy for a while.

Originally an old school espresso stand started in 1993 on Broadway in Capitol Hill,  Cafe Solstice re-imagined itself in 2002 and has now become one of the U-district’s coolest cafes. As of June of this year, they have even re-united with their roots by opening a second location on Capitol Hill.

I spoke with Sarah Schafer, general manager and long-time employee at Cafe Solstice who filled me in on the significance of the Buffalo in their logo.

It is told that the spirit animal of Cafe Solstice is the buffalo. Being the largest land mammal in North America, it represents the strength of a tribe. The folks at Solstice really feel that what makes this cafe a special place is their commitment to the community.


Walking into the cafe, you are immediately greeted with a shelf of books to read. The counter area is a big open space to accommodate lines so you don’t feel to crunched while waiting to order. There are bottles of San Pellagrino, old school coke and ginger brews chilled and ready to grab. In the cases are a great selection of decently priced sandwiches ($5-$8), gourmet mac-n-cheese ($5.75), granola and greek yogurt options and a whole host of delicious looking sweets.

They serve Lighthouse Coffee, rotating beers on tap (always offering an Elysian brew) and have live music. This place is a go-to place for breakfast, lunch or an evening snack.

Schafer said that they try to support the artists and musicians who are regular clientele and often feature their art on the walls or book them to perform. Artists and musicians can bring in demos and artist submissions in person or through their Facebook page to be a featured artist.

Although conveniently situated close to UW, the patrons are a refreshing mix of students, professors, locals, artsy types and all sorts of people reading, drawing writing, chatting and computer-ing. People should note that Cafe Solstice likes their music, so this is not for the quite-study-corner types. There is plenty of seating, but it is a plus if you are open to sharing your four top if you are by yourself–no one likes a table-hog!

As always, remember to tip your barista and enjoy the good vibes.

Cafe Solstice U-district is Located at:
4116 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
(206) 675-0850

Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill is Located at:
925 E. Thomas St.
Seattle, Washington 98102

Their Hours Are:

Mon – Thu: 6:30am – 11:00pm
Fri: 6:30am – 9:00pm
Sat: 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 7:00am – 11:00pm

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