Nestled into the heart of Five Points in East Nashville lies one of its most earthy and down home shops: Bongo East. Part of the Bongo Java imprint that seems to have literally taken over the city of Nashville, the East Side is home to one of the older locations, starting in 2000. This is one of the shops that really revitalize the East Nashville community, and brought Bongo Java’s name to the forefront over the years.
Walking into Bongo East, it may not look like much, but there’s a rich heritage here. Bongo restaurants and cafes seem to take on the nature and feel of the community they insert themselves into, and East is no different. Many of the tables have artwork all over them, the counter is made of old wood and metal roofing, and the large open space gives breathing room for people who show up every morning for their java fix.
Specialty drinks abound, and since we’re coming into summer time, iced drinks are the focus. Impeached, a fusion of espresso, milk and peach tea is certainly one to not be missed, while Grey Skies is more of a staple that comes up every year. It’s an elegant mix of coconut milk, espresso, and chocolate shavings for a delectable flavor combo. Sometimes we wish this one was around all year long.
Moving away from the specialty drinks, keeping it simple is always the name of the game for Bongo. All roasting happens at their Nashville main facility, and they only use high-quality arabica coffee, like most specialty roasters. All coffee is certified organic, and where they stand out the most is how much they support their small scale farmers, to the point where they helped start CoopCoffees, a fair-trade cooperative.
The nitro on tap is some of the smoothest in town, while the Breve is a personal favorite, mixing a latte with steamed half and half instead of milk. Breakfast items are often available, and bagels are sourced through Bare Naked Bagel, a local food truck. We can honestly say that we’ve never been disappointed any time we’ve step foot in any of Bongo’s shops, but East is still one of our favorites. It just feels like home, in the heart of East Nashville.
Bongo East: 107 South 11th Street, Nashville, TN 37206