Coffee Galore

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Glenn Greenwald

I wandered in late to a talk Glenn Greenwald was giving about his book, How Would a Patriot Act?, at the Higher Grounds Cafe. This is the first time I stopped by said establishment, but it gets major points by me by hosting a book discussion like this (by which I mean having intellectual and cultural value, not politically liberal). They even provided free desserts (I was good and didn’t partake).

There’s been a real glut of coffeeshops in Northern Liberties: Latte Lounge, 1 Shot, Ground Floor, Soy Cafe, The Pond (which recently closed). All of them have prices and selections comparable to Starbucks. Higher Grounds, Soy Cafe, and – I believe – Ground Floor also provide free wifi. All of them have a funky, cozy atmosphere.

Latte Lounge

When the first ones – Latte Lounge, Soy Cafe, and Ground Floor – opened, everyone was all “it’s about time.” Now I just scratch my head in bewilderment. How are they all to survive?

I’m a coffee addict, but I’m not a coffee aficionado. I’m more than happy drinking the free sludge at school instead of paying $3 for it at Starbucks (although, I will occasionally indulge in $1.25 ice coffee from Dunkin Donuts).

I do like the ambience at coffeeshops, though, and will sometimes pay for a small tea so that I can sit around in one and do some work. Higher Grounds seems like one of the better places to hang out and do something like that. But, man, it just seems like a treacherous business to me, especially in this economy.

Although I must admit that in Seattle there’s literally a coffee shop on every single freakin’ corner. And if some of what I’ve read about the importance of coffee in the Enlightenment is true – Voltaire purportedly drank between 50 to 75 cups a day – then maybe all these coffeeshops merely portend the bloom of a Northern Liberties Renaissance. I tend not to think so, but one can hope.

northern liberties, coffee, restaurant, business

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