Starbucks (Dazaifu, Japan)
Yes, a Starbucks made this list, but it is far from your ordinary Starbucks — it might just be the coolest Starbucks ever. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates, who also designed a restaurant that made it on our list of restaurants with amazing architecture, this Starbucks has the architectural firm’s signature aesthetic of interwoven wood blocks intended to evoke a forest. Unlike other “cool” Starbucks locations in Asia, this one is not located in a pagoda or historical building; those buildings just look sad and out of place. This one makes us appreciate contemporary design (and contemporary coffee drinks).
Amethyst (Chennai, India)
Amethyst captures the heart of Old Madras, both in its outdoor tropical garden area with wicker chairs and its indoor area with marbled floors and portraits of the family that used to own the mansion the café currently occupies. There is also an in-house florist and a shop upstairs that sells books, clothing, and jewelry with a South Indian theme. Expats and locals alike come here to enjoy continental food and “cold coffee,” an iced latte with ice cream mixed into it.