Best Coffeehouse

Lighthouse Roasters

Walking into Lighthouse Roasters in upper Fremont is like stepping into a friend's ramshackle kitchen and being brewed a pot of stunningly fresh gourmet coffee. Known for its addictive taste (editor Mike Seely once called it the world's best cocaine substitute), Lighthouse's coffee is made even better because it's sold by owner Ed Leebrick, who lives right next door and is on a first-name basis with just about everyone in the neighborhood (and, actually, probably the entire city). Leebrick's staff is as eccentric as he—his team of baristas are exponentially livelier than Starbucks drones and like to give esoteric lectures on classical music when they're not dumping ice cubes down each other's pants. Plus, when the conversation inevitably dries up, you can always engineer a smooth transition by petting Leebrick's pup, Marvin the Mutt. ERIN K. THOMPSON 400 N. 43rd St., 633-4444,

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