George Town is melting pot of cultures and rich history. The coastal town is lined with remnants of a colonial past and colorful shophouses that now house an array of shops, restaurants, and attractions. The capital of the state of Penang, George Town is bustling with locals going about their day on antique bikes and newer motorcycles, and tourists who want part of the action.
When it comes to coffee in this town, there’s no doubt that kopitiams still have a very prominent standing, however third wave coffee shops have begun to make their mark on the town’s caffeine scene. Scattered all over George Town (and beyond) are numerous coffee establishments that brew some of the best coffee from around the world, and are manned by people who are passionate about their craft.
One such shop is located just a stone’s throw away from the Goddess of Mercy Temple, down a small alley. Its exterior of worn out paint and an old Chinese signage makes for quite an unassuming facade, however that certainly isn’t what makes this shop so popular amongst tourists and locals. The Alley is a lovely little nook that has been brewing for a good four and a half years. The shop has played witness to the island’s ever growing coffee scene and has earned its place as a Penang favorite.
Inside, decor is kept simple and homespun with a black and white mural to the side of the entrance, metal finishings, and colorful posters. In the back of the shop was additional seating, a sofa, and a larger table for groups. When looking through the shop’s Instagram page, I noticed that some things have changed since my visit – the shop underwent a renovation and looks a lot sleeker than before, and has welcomed the addition of a merchandise section, so it’s definitely worth checking out for yourself.
The shop brews coffee from all over the world and the baristas will let you know all about the coffee you’re drinking if you ask. They make a great Americano and latte, as well as churros and cronuts as I later found out – sure wish I had tried those!
It isn’t hard to see why The Alley has become a Penang institution. It’s all too easy to while away you afternoon chatting away with a friend with coffee in hand planning the rest of your island adventures from this spot down an alley.