The Coffee Shops of Boulder
As one of those writer-types, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Luckily, there are a variety of choices in Boulder, so I can frequently change it up. Here are my impressions of some of them, in no particular order:
Brewing Market off Baseline: Has fantastic pictures taken by the one and only Max Seigal (yes, this is a shameless plug for his photography business. I’m hoping that eventually he’ll pay me for referrals). Pretty good coffee, good chai (my favorite is the ginger chai), good loose tea. Small tables, but lots of plugs all over the place, especially in the front section. They like to fill the coffee cups up to the brim, so unless I put on a lid I always end up knocking into the table and spilling. I usually try to bring my own travel mug, it’s safer. It’s also close to home,which is nice for a quick escape. I also like the atmosphere, and all of the baristas I’ve interacted with over the years have been nice and friendly.
Starbucks off Baseline: I’ve only been there twice, both times early. It seems like a CU hangout, so I’d avoid it during prime study hours. There’s one nice biggish table with easy outlet access, and a few smaller tables. The vanilla spice latte is pretty good. I don’t especially like Starbucks coffee, but I have a gift card, and it’s hard to pass up free coffee drinks. Perk of having a school teacher mom– she gives you all the gift cards that she doesn’t use (thank you to all the band students at Copley-Fairlawn Middle and High Schools. And to whoever keeps giving a box of Candy Cane Joe Joe’s from Trader Joes– student of the year. Mom, this is the real reason I come home for Christmas. Just kidding– it’s actually for Grandma Cindea’s dinner rolls). I also have a Cheesecake Factory gift card, if anyone wants to go. I finally live somewhere that has a Cheesecake Factory, so I should probably use it up. (The fact that my review detours into Ohio should tell you something…). This Starbucks is also close to home, though the parking lot is tiny, and there are tons of college kids, even before 8 am on a Saturday (what college student gets up that early?). Makes for interesting people watching.
Starbucks off 28th: One of the baristas’ is named Lauren, and she complimented my earrings (they were gulls that day). She also had pretty snazzy earrings herself. Everyone who came in seemed to know the various baristas by name, and they seemed to know everyone who came in. Not every table has access to a plug, and it’s a little cozy inside, but I like it and have gotten quite a bit of work done there. If I’m not feeling Brewing Market, this is my go-to spot. Again though, I have a gift card.
Ozo Coffee Co. on Pearl St.: Noisy in the front, but they have Bhakti Chai. Can see the Flatirons from the front window. Friendly baristas. Small 2 person table is perfect size for one with a laptop and notebook. Quite a few people working, and having meetings, meeting up with friends. Woman with her small daughter having hot chocolate on a Tuesday mid-morning. Outlet placement not ideal, and I didn’t have one at my table (seemed like there should have been one, but there wasn’t). This is where I first met Lauren Rains, editor of Outdoor Minded Mag (with whom I am now interning). She says they’re serious about coffee here, and it has a good atmosphere but she also likes Laughing Goat for the happy hour and live music. I’m cheap (and the drinks aren’t), and I have to park a couple blocks away for the free parking, so I don’t frequent the coffee spots on Pearl St. all that often.
Starbucks on Pearl and 15th: Again, gift card. Lots of head space, feels open, nice calm atmosphere. Seem to be fair number of plugs by tables around walls, but I got stuck with one in the middle (I really need to start getting out earlier or something). Internet seems to be a little slow, some pages take a few refreshes to load. Not unpleasant, I’d come here again. I find Starbucks drinks to be okay, not the best, but tolerable. Not as crowded as other shops I’ve been to, people seem to come in and leave with their drinks, not hang out all day. Just saw a guy sitting at a table by the door get up and open the door for a woman with a stroller. I like Boulder.
Vic’s, off Walnut St.: Two levels, though I only spotted one plug on the upper level– wait, have discovered a second. Not too many tables, but on a Monday afternoon there was barely anyone there, four people total not including myself. Nice long tea list. Have a television that seems to only play annoying day-time TV, which is why I always have headphones. Dislike that they close at 6 p.m., since I usually only am free to write early in the morning or later in the evening.
The Cup, off Pearl: Ashley and I stopped by one night as we were wandering the streets, and bought a cup of peppermint tea to warm us up (and so we could use the bathroom). It was $6 for two. I mean, seriously? $3 for a cup of tea? Have yet to go back, though it does seem like it would be a good place to work, with lots of tables and a back room.
Laughing Goat, on Pearl: Lots of plugs, with a slightly battered/artsy feel. Good tea, haven’t had the coffee yet. Holed up for a long session of layout work with Lauren for OMM, and I really enjoyed it. Some of the tables seemed a little off-kilter, but mine in the corner was good. Some of the tables are good sized, others are teeny tiny (as in I could barely fit my 13 inch laptop on the surface). I foresee many more long work days spent there.
Amante Coffee, off Baseline (the new one): new location, just opened up a few weeks ago. Don’t know that it’s been “discovered” by the masses yet, which means it’s pretty calm inside and not difficult to find an open table (or hasn’t been the few times I’ve been inside). Lots of outlets downstairs, and there’s a second level which has some relatively comfy couches and chairs, but only one discovered outlet. They also have Bhakti Chai (always a plus in my book).
There are many more coffee places to discover and many more words to write, so I shall continue my research and let you know when I’ve found the perfect work place.