Whether you’re looking for a place to dance a Friday night away or relax on a Sunday morning﹣you should look no further than Aggieville. Known for its nightlife and popular restaurants, Aggieville has also developed a reputation for its bustling coffee scene in recent years. In search of the best coffee shops and drinks in Manhattan, we surveyed just over 500 Kansas State University students about what their favorite local coffee shops are and what quenches their thirst when they sit down to study or chat with friends.
There was an overwhelming agreement of the best coffee shops in Manhattan: Public Hall, Bluestem Bistro, and Radina’s. One thing that these shops have in common is their ability to provide comfort and quality beverages for any occasion.
According to the poll, K-State students enjoy flavored lattes at all three locations. Vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, chai and caramel were the most popular flavors, but a host of others were also mentioned. White chocolate and latte mochas were also favored amongst the three coffee shops. While these are the best drinks according to K-State students, they are only a few of the amazing items that each place has to offer.
Each of these locations are unique and bring something different to the table. Aside from coffee, they offer a great variety of study spaces, social settings, and lively community-based environments. Let’s dive a little deeper into these beloved Manhattan coffee shops to see what all this fuss is about.
Public Hall is located in the heart of Aggieville along Moro Street. Its upbeat, modern interior creates a motivating environment for students to study in. They also provide outdoor seating in front of the building, as well as a large back patio for warm days.
Kameron James-Rose, K-State sophomore, said that he enjoys “the relaxing atmosphere and how good of a place it is to study, especially on nice days because of the outdoor seating.” His favorite drink at Public Hall is the Angeleno, an iced espresso with milk and agave. He recommends the drink along with the atmosphere to other students.
Public Hall is fairly new to Aggieville, but it has made a great impression. Some of their popularity is due to their community-based values. The name Public Hall was picked as a representation of the values that the shop continues to uphold.
Another favorite cafe among students, Bluestem Bistro, is just a short walk from Public Hall. Avid Bluestem Bistro customer and K-State student, Maddie Ball, loves Bluestem because “it is a great place to convene with your friends, it is a great place to study, and their coffee is amazing, plus the environment is always so lively.”
Ball’s favorite drinks are the Blueberry Toddy, also known as a blueberry iced coffee, with oat milk as well as the Paris tea. These are both fruity drinks that have subtle flavoring. Ball mentioned that she invested in the “Bluestem Mug” which, after purchasing, allows customers to fill the cup with any coffee or tea for $1 during any visit. “It’s such a great deal, I recommend it to anyone and everyone,” Ball said.
I was intrigued by the honey nougat latte that students recommended at Bluestem. This is a traditional latte with honey and white chocolate syrup added. It was similar to a chai tea latte, but with a smoother-sweeter taste. This latte lived up to the high regards that Kansas State students gave it.
Bluestem offers an abundance of seating: window nooks, a bar top and a private room with a conference table.
Ball mentioned that Bluestem is one of her favorite places to study, “…specifically in the seats at the front by the window; the lighting is so nice, and I like to look outside every now and then,” Ball said. “I feel like I can spread out and have my own space.”
There is also a large outdoor dining area decorated with twinkling lights, perfect for a warm day or evening.
Radina’s, K-State students’ third pick, is just around the corner from Public Hall and Bluestem, nestled on the backside of Moro Street and Manhattan Avenue. This, however, is not Radina’s only location. Aside from the Radina’s in Aggieville, there are several other locations, one on each end of Manhattan as well as on the K-State campus. Two of their locations outside of Aggieville have drive-thrus, possibly qualifying Radina’s as the number one pick for convenience. Radina’s Aggieville location is a cozy, dim-lit scene, reminiscent of a mountain town coffee shop. It is a great place to relax, do homework or stop by for a quick coffee break that will keep you productive while feeling right at home.
Radina’s is a family-run business which makes for a more personable experience. K-State student and frequent Radina’s patron, Ashlyn Gillespie, shared her experience.
“I really like Radina’s because I’m from Manhattan and I know the Radina family and their business is community-driven,” Gillespie said. “They like to support their community and give back, which is something that I respect a lot. Also, their pastries are amazing and go great with any of their awesome drinks!”
Ashlyn also mentioned that her favorite drink at Radina’s is the Americano, a diluted espresso.
When visiting Radina’s, I decided to try the student recommended Black Forest Mocha, a caffe mocha with cherry and hazelnut syrups. It was light and easy to drink, with hints of rich cherry flavors. The Black Forest is definitely a must try, especially for those who have an affinity for fruity flavors.
Another Radina’s specialty is the Grasshopper Mocha, a blend of caffe mocha with crème de mint syrup. Manhappenin’ photographer, Alexia King, said the flavors were reminiscent of thin mint cookies. K-State students insist it is yet another drink to look out for.
Manhattan is home to a variety of local coffee shops. Whether you are looking for a place to study, socialize with friends or get a quick cup of coffee, these locations will satisfy your needs. The next time you are craving a good cup of coffee, need a nice study spot, or are just looking for a change of pace﹣drink or location wise﹣ try one of these Aggieville coffee shops. K-State students insist that you will not be disappointed, and after trying them, we agree.