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The quintessential coffeeshop: Magpie Coffee Roasters


Magpie Coffee Roasters feels like one of those places out of a Hollywood movie where the protagonist chats about her failed love with her quirky feminist barista best friend, while doodling in her notebook (dreaming of an artistic career path instead of her entry-level accounting job she let her parents talk her into because it was practical).

It’s the independent coffee shop every medium-sized city or university town has — where people spend too long in the mornings before work, take up space working with a laptop and a cup of espresso and dawdle on warm weekends. A bonus is the large open window overlooking Wells Avenue while you sit at the faux-grass covered bar top just inside.

Magpie Coffee Roasters has good coffee, too. Its their own brand instead of a mass-produced variety available everywhere, which adds to the charm. (They also sell wholesale.) The menu is simple: a collection of lattes and americanos that are straightforward, instead of advertising a never-ending barrage of flavored, whipped drinks for your Instagram feed.

Magpie’s Wells Avenue location on the backside of Filthy McNasty’s is prime real estate for workers in Reno. It’s also easy to stroll past while shopping the other independent businesses between South Virginia Street and Wells Avenue.

Coffees come iced or hot, can be caffeinated or decaf, and you can choose your favorite type of milk before adding your own sugar (with no one to judge you when you dump in three bags instead of two). There’s also typically a small glass pedestal boasting some sort of sweet treat to pair with your cup of joe.

What really stands out about Magpie Coffee Roasters is the ambiance. It’s simple and quaint, but pretty. There are patio tables outside for warm days when an iced coffee hits just right, but there are also small tables inside for when you’re trying to shut out the cold (or the sun). 

Its location next door to The Radical Cat also does Magpie wonders. After all, what better way to spend a leisurely Saturday than by traipsing through an independent bookstore with a cup of coffee in hand?

And while the two businesses seemingly have nothing in common, they also complement each other. The bookstore, instead of selling well-known bestsellers and everything on Reese Witherspoon’s and Oprah’s book lists, specializes in genres like anti-racism, body positivity and LGBTQ voices.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see why this little corner (literally) of Wells Avenue is so coveted for those who live in or frequent the Midtown area. Magpie just so happens to be a cornerstone of the area: the perfect reprieve for an afternoon pick-me-up or a good place to enjoy a long conversation with an old friend.



Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.