Ah the smells of coffee and sweets, the thrills of caffeine, the ambient murmur of quiet conversation and NEVER the high volume of an animated discussion among college students about no one cares… I sure miss my local cafe. Maybe you miss yours too. (Or we hope you do, and that you’re staying home, depending on where you are in the world right now.)
Ah…. the local coffee shop…
Yes, it serves kombucha and macchiato cortados, and your local shirtless guitar player comes in often. He works for tips and free croissants, playing in the courtyard to approximately two people. His business cards have a Myspace link scratched out and he directs you to TikTok instead. When he spells out his handle, he specifies which letters are uppercase.
It’s the coffee shop where you can grab your subversive local newsletter about 30-year-old punk bands, or maybe it’s poetry by the people who seem to live there. Did there used to be a bed here? You know the baristas by name, and one of them even knows yours. Well, almost.
Someone will come in who knows the barista and they’ll insult a rival or nearby coffee shop. The insult will be specific nonsense, like “their latte art is very 2016” or “they don’t even make their own coffee blends.” That person will also be carrying take-out food from next door. It’s cool, everyone does it.
The menu won’t have the word “coffee” anywhere and will instead mention siphons, French presses, drips, filters, and several countries you’ve never been to, nor could you locate on a map. The menu is creative but confusing. Beautiful but minimal. It absolutely never has everything they offer, and some of it will be old, no matter how recently the menu was updated.
The owner is mysterious. Is it that man who is always restocking the used board games? Is it the woman who used to be a rocket scientist and then worked at a Starbucks for four months undercover for ideas? Is it the retired singer-songwriter carrying the cooler in the back?
Something is a little off. Maybe there’s a full wall of clocks near the bathroom. Maybe the bathroom has a full mosaic of a person facing the toilet. Maybe there’s one worker who is inexplicably rude, and also looks like she’s the owner’s daughter. Maybe every Tuesday a group of mid-sixties amateur magicians meets up and does some origami. Maybe you keep that origami forever.
Next year, I hope I’ll see you at my local cafe, while I sip a greenline mocha and try to tell someone about my zines. But Intrinsic Cafe, that lonely guitar player, and our local newsletter will always hold a special place in my heart.