Quite possibly my favorite coffee place in Mobile is a must on your trip itinerary.
Carpe Diem Coffee & Tea Company may not be a historic landmark, but the building itself has a vintage and relaxed vibe that makes one feel as if they had just come home. The exterior is reminiscent of late Victorian or early 19th century farmhouse right off busy Old Shell Road. Inside, this place has everything you’d expect of a coffeehouse. Big comfy upholstery, pastries, the whirl of the coffee grinders, the bracing aroma of espresso and chocolate, Wi-Fi, and of course, a wall of merchandise including mugs with the shop’s logo and bags of coffee so you can take a piece of Carpe Diem home with you. The style of the interior gives off a warm, bistro theme with emphasis from the South American influence on the coffee industry.
The name of the place drew me in first. “Carpe Diem” (“Seize the Day”) is just what any half-awake traveler (or commuter) needs for inspiration. That, and maybe a cookie or two. Pick up a to-die-for cinnamon roll and curl up in one of their plush armchairs with a good book. But you don’t have to restrict your visit to this comfortable little café for the morning. Feel free to pop in for lunch – or brunch. Order their hot turkey and swiss sandwich meal and take it out onto the porch, where you can sit and literally watch the world go by. And if you wanna try their breakfast menu in the late afternoon, no worries! They sell their breakfast menu all day. Carpe Diem has a little something for everyone, including gluten free options and a shocking variety of coffee grounds and teas available. You can learn about each one of them and their origins on their website (listed below).
I don’t know if it was the coziness of the coffeeshop itself or if the place just has a magnetism of its own, but I fell in love the moment I walked in the door. Many coffeehouses I’ve visited have followed the contemporary model of Starbucks, which makes them feel somewhat cookie-cutter or unimpressive. But Carpe Diem was like a warm hug after a long day dealing with traffic and deadlines.
There’s never a bad time to visit Carpe Diem, but if you decide to stop by around rush hour in Mobile, I advise you find a short cut or account for the time you’ll sit in traffic. Depending on which way you come from on Old Shell Road, you may hit the hordes of people trying to get to I-65. Parking at Carpe Diem is ideal and even if they’re full, feel free to park across the street to the left of the building and cross Dilston Street (safely!)
During my visit, the staff were friendly and the place wasn’t overly crowded. Students with their laptops took up tables on one side of the room while couples sat outside on the porch. I ordered the “Brew of the Day” in medium – this always changes, by the way – and skipped on any pastries because I had just eaten an early dinner. The brew was strong and just the right pick-me-up that I needed before my long drive back east. My visit was cut short by a pressing appointment, but you best believe I’m going to make my way back to Carpe Diem soon. In fact, I may go there every time I’m in Mobile.
Monday – Saturday 6:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday 7:00am – 10:00pm
4072 Old Shell Road, Mobile, AL 36608