What are we looking for in a coffee bar?

What are we looking for in a coffee bar?  Certainly we start with the search for a great cup of coffee.  I am not an expert here but I’ve had those cups where the taste was still a lovely lingering memory days later.   But what else are we looking for when we go on the hunt for a great coffee bar.  What makes you feel like you’ve come to the right place.  You are meeting a friend and you want a place to spend a little time together.  Or you came in alone because you need a break.

Hanging out in coffee bars for wifi

For those of you who hang out for the wifi, this is not your discussion. A few weeks ago I went into a hip looking place in Brooklyn, I was searching for somewhere warm to sit and chat.  Every seat was taken, every table had a laptop firmly centered.  The funniest sight was the bar, an old saloon top minus the beer taps.   It was a row of Mac Airbooks with each person turned slightly away from their neighbor.  Finding my way to the door was easy.

A great coffee bar draws you in

Hospitality Architecture Chapman Architects A great coffee bar must have great coffee but it draws you in with warmth and fellowship.  When you walk in the barista knows you are there, maybe there is a little conversation with your order, a smile is exchanged with your drink. Maybe you are drinking at the bar and there is a longer conversation and you learn something new about what you are drinking.  If this is the coffee bar you come to every day the barista probably knows your name as well as what you will order.  You may be here only a few minutes a day but it is an extension of home.


You are with a friend, the seats are comfortable, the table is just sufficient for coffee and a pastry, the lighting is gentle.  You can hear your companion’s words over the soft background buzz of other conversations because the table spacing is just right.  The caffeine has sharpened your mind and ideas start to flow.  Perhaps this is when together you will have the idea that will save humanity. When you leave you are invigorated, not just by the coffee, but also by the human connection.


Featured image Caffe Streets, Chicago designed by Norsman Architects