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Frame: Try the library?

August 27, 2010

I have mixed feelings about this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/25/dining/25coffee.html

The gist is that new coffee shops are trending toward the bar model and away from the extension of the back porch idea that Starbucks has hung its hat on for so many years. These new places are actively discouraging customers from sticking around- no wifi, no reading materials, no chairs.

The part of me that equates this with my life in Italy loves the idea- an Italian breakfast consists of coffee sipped while standing at a counter, and it is usually quite social as your friends are standing next to you with their own espresso. There is no muffin, no fruit cup, no breakfast sandwich, and no lingering for 3 hours over your laptop. That’s what these new coffee bars are aiming for- the morning equivalent of stopping for a beer with friends on the way home.

I can give up the muffin, fruit cup, and breakfast sandwich no problem- while I love brunch on the weekends I don’t dig on daily breakfast, which is why the Italian lifestyle suited me so well. But I have to admit I love my coffee and papers, and I’m no stranger to staking out a table at my nearby Starbucks and laying claim for a few hours. (And don’t we all have “our” Starbucks? And isn’t it truly annoying when someone is sitting at “your” table? Or unnerving when someone doesn’t understand how the early morning line works or who to talk to if you’re ordering food vs. just ordering a drink? Who is this person that is new to your Starbucks? Are they visiting from out of town or are they going to keep coming here? If they intend on being a regular they better get with the program, pronto.)

I guess there is room for both this new model and my Starbucks back porch, or my beloved 1369 cafe (http://www.1369coffeehouse.com) with its unique collection of Cambridge-ians, a race that has pioneered the table stake-out and can survive in one spot for over 8 hours with little more than a brewed refill, a pair of emo glasses, and some tight jeans.

Or, I’d say I should try holing up in the library again, but they don’t allow coffee in there, do they?

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2010 10:11 pm

    I despise the arses on their laptops at any of the coffee shops I frequent. My favorite lingering place, Sub Marinos, has wifi for free, some of the best food in the area, it’s cheap and also features beer and wine. The dining area is divided into sections, a corner where the laptop arses can sit and tap away writing their novel, a section where the old dudes sit and talk over beer or coffee (depending on the time of day.) I can sit near the bar with my sketchbook, a book or just a cup of mediocre coffee with really good food. I’m not usually in there for breakfast though, occasionally on the weekends.

    The laptop arse variety I particularly despise are the 20 inch macbook pro arses. They frequent the Starbucks near me and are the primary reason I mostly use the drive through or sit at the outdoor seating area. Did anyone ever really do any good design work at a Starbucks? Or write a novel? *rolls eyes*

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