By Elias Medici
Coffee is indeed a drug. Could you go to rehab for it? I believe you should. College students suffer the addiction, cringing for more while the night owl stays up late staring aimlessly on blackboard to decipher whether to finally start studying or keep wasting more money on Amazon. However, coffee does have its positive perks, one in particular being a social remedy practiced in the vast jungle of Lawrence’s exquisite coffee spots.
Let’s play the name game. When I provide a word, allow your brain to trigger its first response immediately to it. Okay? Okay. The first word is “mosquito.” You most likely thought of the word “bite,” or, “Malaria/Zika virus” to show-off your political relevance. Now, let me provide the word relating to this article’s purpose, “coffee shop.” What did you think? It was most likely “hipster,” and, yes, that is an accurate connection. Typically, this is a pre-cautionary signal to most people. But, these unique coffee spots are not just for the hipster breed; they are actually fun and cool!
Alongside my sidekick photographer Maggie, our first spot was Alchemy Coffee & Bake House on 19th and Massachusetts St. The little shop is located in a petite plaza with a narrow driveway and a huge parking lot that fits up to three cars. We were forced to park, illegally, at a residential lot not far from it. However, there is available parking across the street; we were just lazy.
The aroma walking in reminded me of a hookah lounge that had a baby with a nursery that lacked any plants. The space is tight with a small corridor in the back for food, a center with tables, and a main counter for coffee on the final side. All these intricate instruments were displayed and, to my surprise, there was no menu. I know what you’re thinking at this point, “Wow, that oozes hipster,” but bear with me. The man read my mind and translated my visible feelings into a dynamic concoction that he called “mocha.” It was wonderful and cheaper than Starbucks. We proceeded to sit down at an empty table and enjoyed the atmosphere. People were friendly and completed homework assignments politely in their own manner. For some reason, five of the 16 people in the shop were wearing Christmas sweaters. Don’t say the H-word; it was probably just an accident. We both rated this quaint, unique shop a strong A grade.
The next and final shop of our short tour was Decade, a coffee shop in the eastern section of Lawrence’s emerging art district. Thankfully, there was legal parking. The exterior had this architecture similar to a San Franciscan home with a tight landscape more than one story high. Walking in, we were greeted with a wooden staircase and a coat rack that immediately made me think of an Urban Outfitters entrance. Don’t say the word please. At the top, there were tables lined up and organized and people were smiling, completing their study. There were families with children, to my surprise, eating a light meal and enjoying coffee. On the walls were local art displayed and shelves full of ceramic and wooden works. The main counter was similar to Alchemy’s and had the diverse instruments that I could probably not pronounce a single one of their proper names correctly.
We ordered food this time, a $12 grilled cheese accompanied with tomato bisque topped with goat cheese. I ordered my second “mocha” and we sat down at the counter due to it being packed in the seating area. They also had a porch with a huge group of friends laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Definitely the outside area is a great place to hangout and chill, if it’s open. When we sat down, we were greeted with flash cards that had open-ended and extremely personal questions. We didn’t play it. By the time we were done munching, it was 30 minutes later. Upon leaving, I took the “In what ways are you a difficult person to have a relationship with?” flash card as a memory of our beautiful time at Decade. We rated it as well a strong A with a great emphasis on its social ability.
It’s highly recommended to unwind with some of your best pals at these shops whether it’s on the weekend or after class. Everyone needs a balance to his or her busy schedule, and this is a perfect way to counteract stress resulting from being productive. Can you get addicted to coffee? Yes, absolutely. Will there be a hipster at your planned visit to one of the two coffee shops mentioned? 100 percent there will. Will you have a wonderful time and enjoy yourself? I am positive of it. Take my word and go explore!
Photography by Maggie Russell