When Starbucks officially became the ‘new home office’; the independent coffee bars latinized themselves introducing americans to the standing coffee-bar-habit. The excuse was to be social. OK then. I really don’t like Starbucks. And for several reasons, from capitalism to moral to plain taste. But I confess they get it so right at times, it’s amazing. On the day of presidential elections, coffee was free…. Hear Music has always been a fabulous label with the coolest compilations, and one of the first stores where consumers could create their own CDs…. Then the smart consumer gimmick, and “working from home” became synonymous with “working from my neighborhood Starbucks”. Trendsetter they are.
Independent coffee stores, on the other hand, are upgrading their design schemes to facilitate social interaction. As noted by the NYT, Stumptown Coffee Roasters in NYC’s Ace Hotel, Café Grumpy’s new Park Slope outpost, and Intelligentsia in Venice Beach have all found success in this shift away from coffee bar-cum-workspace culture. Maybe it’s that Italian thing (and the recently opened Eataly is their best representation so far), the latinization of habits (um cafezinho….) Anyway, comfy chairs are out, and standing room-only bars are in. The purpose is to make one move away from behind the laptop, stand side by side a fellow customer…..and get social.