BEST COFFEE SHOP
Bull Run Coffee Bar
The perfect espresso shot has long been the coffee geek's holy grail. But these days, brewed coffee is quickly catching up. The push started a couple of years ago with the arrival of the Clover, which works something like an automated, upside-down French press, mixing the grounds with hot water in a brew chamber and then plunging the liquid out. This gives the barista the ability to control every variable (the amount and temperature of water, extraction time, etc.) to tailor the brew to each particular bean and coax out its best characteristics. Bull Run is one of the few coffee shops in town to have one of the slick, pricey gadgets, and baristas who approach coffee-making—via espresso machine, press pot, pour-over drip-filter, or just-in-from-the-coasts Japanese siphon—with machine-like precision. Bull Run's owner, Greg Hoyt, has been in the business for more than a decade, roasting coffee for high-end restaurants, so the shop offers a selection of beans as interesting as its coffee-making methods. And be sure to grab a fresh-made pastry from the adjoining Rustica counter (score!) to pair with your cappuccino—just don't ask for the coffee to go, as the fastidious baristas won't jeopardize the integrity of their pitch-perfect foams.