Coffee shops sell more than just coffee and small bites to eat. They’re selling ambiance, an office, WiFi, a meeting place, inspiration, art, etc. To those of you who live in a city, the confines of a small apartment can cause cabin fever. Therefore, your regular coffee shop can sometimes become like an extension of your home.
When I travel, one of the first things I do is look for a coffee shop. Not just because I’m a coffee addict who wants the have banter with a Batista or watch as they pour an artistic flower into my latte, but because coffee shops are like a headquarters. Coffee shops are the perfect pit stop to rest, plan the next steps of your journey and catch up on emails and social media. Cafes also tend to be very local-minded and will have insights to local events, where locals hang out and what locals are up to on a day to day basis. Here’s an overview of some of my encounters with cafes from my travels this year.
One of my first experiences was a Starbucks in the airport where every time I tried to order something they said they didn’t have it… But there were slot machines! I did have one good experience though at Sugar and Ice at the Wynn Hotel on The Strip. The heat made me stray away from hot coffee, but they did serve decadent gelato. Given that it was Las Vegas, I was in the Wynn Hotel and that the demand of ice cream is high in the desert, the prices weren’t that bad. It wouldn’t have made for a conducive location to get work done, like some cafes, but relaxing on the back patio with my gelato in hand made for the perfect spot to plan my next steps on my journey through Sin City.
Cafes in London are the perfect spot to wait. Wait for the rain to stop, wait for the fog to clear, wait for your British buds to join you, or, what happened to me 5 times in a row, waiting for your delayed connecting flight out of London, Heathrow.
Rottenberg ob der Tauber, Germany
German coffee shops are just like the people: blunt. You ask for a coffee shop and that’s all you’re getting. No bells and whistles, just a café and maybe some WiFi if you’re luck.
Austin versus Philadelphia
The café culture in Austin, Texas reminds me a lot of Philadelphia’s in the sense that cafes are a community. Some cafes are set up to look like a living room, with couches and arm chairs surrounding a coffee table and there are even books that guests are invited to read while enjoying their coffee. The décor in Austin seemed a bit more cohesive whereas in Philadelphia the interior design is a bit more eclectic, featuring furniture that is literally donated or bought from local thrift shops. Both cities cafes are also an epicenter for culture events such as art gallery openings, or, in the case of the Hideout Coffeehouse in downtown Austin, host improv acting and comedy routines.