Hardline Coffee

The sign outside Hardline Coffee in Sioux CityToday’s Coffee Spot takes us back to October and the final coffee stop of my American road-trip, when we called into Sioux City, Iowa on our way to Madison, South Dakota. Like the first stop of the trip, Niedlov’s Cafe & Bakery in Chattanooga, Hardline Coffee was a chance find, this time the result of an internet search.  A separate business located inside Art SUX Gallery on 4th Street in downtown Sioux City, Hardline acts as the in-house coffee shop, although both it and the gallery are fully open to the public, the gallery offering extensive seating options, including a sheltered outdoor terrace at the front.

While a chance find, I knew that I’d come to the right place as soon as I saw the roaster in the window and the Sanremo Café Racer (my second of the trip) on the counter inside. Hardline roasts its own single-origin Brazilian for use on the Sanremo, while North Carolina’s Black & White Coffee Roasters provides various filter options that are available as either as batch brew or pour-over. There’s a range of seasonal drinks and teas from nearby Artemis Tea, while if you’re hungry, Hardline has the usual selection of cakes and pastries.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • On the north side of 4th Street in downtown Sioux City, stands this interesting building...
  • ... home, on the right-hand side, to this interesting coffee shop.
  • It's Hardline Coffee, which is located inside the Art SUX Gallery.
  • Although it only occupies the right-hand arch, the outside seating stretches across...
  • ... the whole patio at the front. It's a wonderful, sheltered area...
  • ... with three tables in total.
  • Stepping inside, the counter is set back on the left-hand side...
  • ... leaving space at the front for this three-sided window-bench.
  • Meanwhile, on the other side of the door, is the roastery (which we'll come back to).
  • You can also sit at the counter if you want to, where you'll find...
  • ... these two stools. However, that's just the beginning of the seating. If you go...
  • ... past the counter, you'll find this long corridor leading to the art gallery at the back.
  • There's a three-person table on the left back here...
  • ... while there are another three tables in a row along this bench on the right.
  • However, the best is yet to come. As you approach the gallery space at the back, check..
  • ... out this awesome library nook at the back on the left. It all looks very comfy.
  • You're also welcome to go through to the gallery itself.
  • This is a large, L-shaped room that stretches away to the left.
  • This is a view from the front of the gallery, looking across the space to the left...
  • ... and here's the view from the opposite corner looking back the other way.
  • There's a limited amount of seating in here, where you're welcome to take your coffee.
  • As well as the armchairs, there's this matching couch...
  • ... as well as another three-piece suite in the corner.
  • Some of the artwork that you can admire while drinking your coffee.
  • This coffee table is both functional and a work of art...
  • ... while others are used to display artwork...
  • ... or merchandising.
  • Going back into the front part of the building, you'll find a sign promising more art upstairs.
  • You're welcome to go upstairs as well, if only to pause half way up to admire the counter...
  • ... and the Sanremo Café Racer espresso machine.
  • Half way up there's a landing which overlooks the roastery, another great place to pause.
  • The stairs then double back on themselves to reach the top floor.
  • At the top, a corridor runs off to the left, which takes you past various studios.
  • At the far end of the corridor is another neat little seating area...
  • ... while another corridor leads off to the right, heading to the back of the building.
  • There's more seating back here, in what reminded me of a doctor's waiting room.
  • Again, it's all very cosy.
  • As before, you're welcome to bring your coffee up here.
  • Okay. Time to go back, first down the corridor to the front...
  • ... and then along the front to the stairs.
  • I'd not noticed the window on the way up.
  • And there I was, thinking that I was in a coffee shop...
  • Down we go...
  • ... and around the corner to the coffee shop.
  • Let's go back to the roastery under the stairs. There's a small retail area here...
  • ... where you can buy bags of Hardline Coffee...
  • ... which is all roasted in this neat little roastery space in the window.
  • The roaster in more detail...
  • ... which you can also see through the window from the terrace outside.
  • Down to business. You order at the counter...
  • ... where you'll find the cakes in this display case next to the till.
  • I was there at the end of the day, so it was a bit depleted.
  • Meanwhile, the seasonal drinks and tea selection is on top of the display case.
  • Filter coffee is at the back of the counter, with both batch brew and pour-over.
  • The menu is on the wall above...
  • ... while the particular beans on offer (from Black & White) are displayed to the left.
  • Everyone else was drinking filter, but I wanted something from the espresso machine...
  • ... deciding on a cortado. Apologies for the poor picture quality. Before I left, I bought...
  • ..  a bag of the Hardline Brazilian, leaving this Ethiopian Reko from Sump Coffee.
  • In return I was gifted this sticker, which is now on Amanda's car's luggage carrier.
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Hardline Coffee began roasting four years ago, selling beans at various farmers markets, before moving into its own bricks-and-mortar store. Then, a year ago, one of the coffee shop’s regular customers bought the building on 4th Street, converted it into an art gallery and invited Nisa, Hardline’s own and chief roaster, to move in. As well as housing the gallery and Hardline Coffee, the building is home to various artist’s studios, which you’ll find on the top floor. Further cementing the relationship between art and coffee, all the baristas who work at Hardline also have studios in the building and you can see some of their work on display in the gallery.

Hardline is conveniently located on 4th Street, just a few blocks north of I-29 as it follows the north bank of the Missouri River, making it a very easy stop for us on our way to South Dakota. Hardline occupies the right-hand side of an old, two-storey building on the north side of the street, the entrance set back behind a sheltered arcade that houses three round tables. The central door is flanked by two broad windows, the roastery clearly visible through the right-hand one.

This occupies a small space on the right-hand side at the front of the gallery, tucked in beneath the stairs, which run along the right-hand wall, doubling back on themselves on a landing overlooking the roaster. Staying downstairs, the counter is on the left, opposite the stairs, while at the front, a three-part bench occupies the window on the left. The only other seating in this part of Hardline is provided by a pair of stools at the left-hand end of the counter.

While this might seem a little sparse, you’re welcome to take your coffee and sit anywhere in the gallery, which provides a cornucopia of seating options. Beyond the counter/stairs, a broad corridor runs towards the main gallery space at the back of the building. Three round tables line a bench along the right-hand wall, while there’s another free-standing table against the wall to the left. Then, just before you reach the doors to the gallery, there’s a cosy library nook off to the left, with bookshelves and a three-piece suite.

There’s more seating in the spacious gallery at the back, where you can sit and admire the artwork on the walls. There’s another three-piece suite, a pair of armchairs and a sofa, while if that wasn’t enough, there’s more seating upstairs. Here a long L-shaped corridor connects the top of the stairs with the back of the building, lined on either side by the artist’s studios. These are open to the public on Saturday mornings, while the rest of the time, there’s more seating, first in the corner of the L, where you’ll find three dining room chairs, and then in a room at the back, which feels a little like the waiting room at the doctor’s, seven chairs lining the three walls.

Turning to the coffee, Hardline roasts a naturally-processed Brazil Santos using the roaster in the window, which is the basis for all the espresso-based drinks, while North Carolina’s Black & White Coffee Roasters provides a pair of filter options (batch brew or pour-over) which change as and when Hardline gets through the beans. While we were there, Hardline had a blend (Happy Birthday – Pink Bourbon) and another Brazilian, a micro-lot from Daterra.

As well as providing a break in our journey, Hardline also offered a chance to meet up with Amanda’s Uncle Gary, who lives in Sioux City. We all sat outside with Fergie (Amanda’s dog) and I must confess that my note-taking when it came to the coffee was a little deficient. I had a cortado, Len and Uncle Gary had filter coffee and Amanda a pour-over and all I can say is that we all enjoyed our coffee. I bought a bag of the Hardline Brazilian to take with us (which ended up at Coffea Roasterie and Espresso Bar in Sioux Falls), while dropping off an Ethiopian Reko, gifted to me by Sump Coffee in Saint Louis the previous day.

515 4TH STREET • SIOUX CITY • IA 51101 • USA
Monday 07:00 – 17:00 Roaster Hardline (espresso) + Black & White (filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Sofas; Tables (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 17:00 Food Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 17:00 Service Counter
Friday 07:00 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 14:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 14:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 6th October 2022

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3 thoughts on “Hardline Coffee

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