Ah, Ghostlight. You were the first coffee shop I visited in Dayton, the first one I found in my Google search, my first Dayton coffee love. Thus, I think it makes sense that it’s the first stop on my Dayton Coffee Crawl!
Let’s start with the basics…
Ghostlight Coffee is located in the historic South Park district of Dayton – close to the downtown area, but not quite there. It’s relatively close to the University of Dayton’s campus, but not close enough that it’s constantly crowded with students. Ghostlight is housed in a quaint dusty-blue house on the street corner, with a graphic of their signature vintage bulb on a side wall. The entrance is tucked away on the side, with big picture windows looking out on to the street.
I have to say, though, I would rather have the views out the window be something other than a busy street, a sketchy wireless shop, a dollar store, and some run-down houses. I don’t feel super comfortable walking to my car late at night, and parking situation is pretty tight. But I’m sure that it’s hard to find a reasonably priced place to start up a coffee shop in the more desirable locations.
One of my favorite things about Ghostlight is the vibe of the shop. It’s cozy and warm and energized all at the same time. With most of the lighting coming from vintage lightbulbs hung on single wires & string lights, it can get pretty dark on cloudy days and early evenings, but that also gives it the cozy-neighbor’s-living-room feeling that people love so much in coffee shops.
Most of the shop consists of one open space, where the bar and seating are, but there’s a quieter space with couches and bookshelves in the back as well. In the main space, there is a decent amount of seating, including a few big tables that can be shared. The tables and chairs are slightly mismatched and mostly dark wood, which just contributes to that neighborhood vibe.
There are rotating art and photography exhibits on the walls, and exposed pipes and vents that contribute to the industrial, slightly unfinished aesthetic.
I find that I don’t usually need to bring my headphones, since they’ve got a good taste in music. Always important for a coffee shop!
The menu is hand-written and very visual. It’s a fairly extensive board and contains almost all of their offerings.
Ghostlight has got all of the coffee basics that I’d expect a place that cares about their coffee to have – real macchiatos, cappuccinos, lattes, and the like. They make their traditional espresso drink list so prominent that you really have to go out of your way to find the sugary sweet drinks, which I appreciate. Yeah, I’m a bit of a coffee snob and I’m not ashamed!
If you do want a latte with a little sweetness, I’d recommend their honey latte, made with local honey, or the lumberjack latte, which has flavors of maple syrup, cinnamon, and smoked sea salt. They’re so satisfying and warming, but not so overpowering that you forget that there is espresso in there!
The syrups that they use are made in small batches, and have some really interesting combinations aside from the typical vanilla & caramel – try the tangerine lavender honey syrup in your latte if you want to go a bit outside of your comfort zone.
Ghostlight serves Rishi Tea, which is whole leaf and well-sourced. They’ve got typical black and green teas, and a good variety of herbal teas for when you want a nice warm drink in the evening.
In terms of food, they now serve bagels that you can toast yourself, and they have a rotating variety of pastries and muffins and scones. When we first went to Ghostlight, we tried their version of a cronut, which was a glazed croissant. Uhhhhhh YUM. And, if you need a quick snack, they have a lot of energy bars and locally made chocolate bars for sale as well.
I’ve been to Ghostlight more times than I can count on my two hands, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try lots of their menu offerings!
Ghostlight is mainly partnered with Deeper Roots Coffee, a roaster in Cincinnati. I love me a good local roaster!! They always have at least one offering of a drip coffee that’s ready to go, or you can get a handcrafted cup of coffee. They offer V60 & Chemex pourovers, and French press. Pourovers are a great way to try a tasty new single origin coffee.
I have not had an espresso drink at Ghostlight that I have not liked. Literally every drink has been a great coffee experience, whether it’s a Gibraltar, an iced Americano, or a latte. Ghostlight puts the quality and consistency of their coffee above all other drinks, and it shows in the best way possible.
They’ve got a good variety of rotating seasonal drinks. It seems like every time I go, there’s something new to try.
The only drink I didn’t particularly love is their nitro cold brew coffee, which was just a mouthfeel thing for me. I don’t like carbonation in my coffee! I’m not the biggest fan of their cold brew, which tastes a bit bitter sometimes, but it’s to be expected that the quality of cold brew can be difficult to manage. When you’re making coffee in big batches, the tiniest changes in ratios or temperatures can throw the taste off.
Overall, I really think Ghostlight knocks it out of the park with the quality of their drinks!
Last, but definitely not the least important, is service.
Almost all of the service I’ve experienced at Ghostlight has been friendly, helpful, and prompt. They know so much about their coffee and what they serve, and are happy to answer the silliest of questions.
One of the things that makes it feel like a true neighborhood coffee shop is the service. You’ll often find the barista on the espresso machine chatting away with customers/friends while they make drinks. They really treat their customers like they’re glad to have them there!
So, yeah, go visit this shop.
When people ask me where they should go to get coffee in Dayton, my first response is usually Ghostlight. I think it’s pretty clear based on everything I’ve written that I’m smitten for this shop. Aaaaaand now I’m craving a honey latte!
I’m really looking forward to branching out and going out of my little coffee bubble to try the other Dayton coffee shops, though. It’s not a bad thing to have to go drink more coffee!!!
Up next on my inchworm-speed coffee crawl: Press Coffee.