Note: Rock n’ Joe is now closed.
These days for a cafe to be successful on the north side of Bethlehem, it has to stand out in some way or it’s going to fail. It’s been happening frequently, seeing the closings of Hava Java and the Five Star Cafe. So when I heard a new cafe opened up in the epicenter of all the failed cafe locations, I said to myself, “Do they really think they have what it takes to make it there?”
Turns out, Rockn’ Joe just might. Set in a bright atmosphere with posters, photos, and other artwork strewn across the walls featuring 80’s and 90’s rock sensations (extra props for The Clash and Pearl Jam), it’s easily one of the most inviting atmospheres of any cafe in the area. Further setting the mood they’ve got what seems to be a satellite radio station dedicated to playing solely hit 90’s rock songs, which is perfectly fine with me.
The menu features a full line of different coffee-based beverages, as well as other warm and cold drinks. Since Rockn’ Joe is a franchise, the original drinks are the same across the chain, but offer up a good variety of well-crafted concoctions. Not only is it a coffeehouse, but they serve a full line of sandwiches, pastries, and breakfast items, which is more than most cafes in the area offer.
I placed my order for a grilled bacon and cheese with a latte and took a seat with a friend. I was a little disappointed when my order was brought out that the latte was in a to go cup as I was hoping to take a picture of some hot latte-art porn, but alas. Everything was pretty good. The latte was perfectly done, not burnt tasting like so many of the corporate chains around here. The grilled cheese was also served with a small side of fresh fruit, which was a nice touch and provided for a perfectly filling meal. The person who brought the order out even came back to check and make sure everything was fine and to take away any empty dishes, which I don’t recall being done at any cafe I’ve been to in quite a while.
All-in-all, I can’t honestly complain about anything at Rockn’ Joe. It’s not blow-your-face-off awesome, but it’s the perfect place to sit for a while, work on some things, or read a book. The lounge area is nice, as well as the fact that there’s a bar to sit at, and the place is big enough that during non-peak hours you should be able to sit far enough away from someone to not be bothered by anything. Another perk? They’re open til 10pm most days and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Rockn’ Joe Coffeehouse and Bistro
1 West Broad Street
Bethlehem, PA 18018