Monday, March 01, 2004

Caféhopping: Part I

Happy March! The weather gods have relented and granted us beautiful temperatures and even some sun. Restaurants throw wide their doors for outdoor seating, and people bring out their summer vacation smiles. It's a nice change.

I've finally taken up my quest for the local non-Starbucks café once again, though because of time restrictions, I've really been cheating and scouring the internet for leads. Really, I think I've been happiest and most peaceful this week at various cafés.

First in this caffeinated series will be Jack's Stir-Brewed Coffee. Located in the West Village (136 W. 10th St @ Greenwich St.), this is a charming local favorite. The place is pretty tiny with four or five tables, a counter area, and a bench out front, with great lighting for reading even after sun-hours. If you have to go to the bathroom, you have to go behind the counter into the back and you get to see that barista point of view. The servers seemed genuinely friendly and chatty. On the tables were tin cans (you know, the kind that you make tin-can telephones out of? Did anybody ever do that?? Am I missing out on some integral childhood experience??) with fresh cut flowers. Coffee was tasty, and they go organic and fair-trade.

I was sitting next to one of the regulars, a man from New Zealand, perhaps the only New Zealander not to be thanked at the yawn-ful Oscars yesterday. He got into a conversation with this NYU student from Australia and I couldn't help listen to them talk because I'm inordinately in love with accents. Apparently, the café has weekly movie nights, and this guy seemed to be in charge of that. (The next one is an Orson Welles flick.) Then there actually is a guy named Jack! who owns the place and was nice enough to close the door when he saw that people were a bit chilly.

Downside is that it closes pretty early, 6 or 7, but I may have read the sign wrong on my way out. Anyways, a very cosy friendly place without being gimmick-y or over-quaint like a kooky patchwork quilt.

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