I'm not talking about the text box on this Squarespace blogging tool that says "write here..." No I am talking about where I physically plop my ass down with my laptop and type away. I am talking about the places you can go to grab a beverage, maybe a bite, and get some work done. There are a few places I do this, from my living room, to the Starbucks next to Vinearts. But there are a couple coffee shops that are very worth mentioning in more detail, the gems that Calgary hangs on to and calls its own.
First the unlikely, Waves Coffee House on 17th and 5th. Here I will say that the coffee is ok. It's not Life changing nor is it trying to be, it is just trying to be comfortable and succeeding at that. The staff are the friendliest of any coffee shop staff I have met, always pleasant and chatty with a sense of when to shut up and leave you to your work. They know that a good latte is as much about the experience as pulling the espresso. I also need distractions when I write, stuff to watch and things to pull my gaze off the screen as click away and their prime location on 17th ave offers much in the way of people watching.
Next is the obvious, Analog. A step up for espresso, and baking by Aviv, need I say more? These guys do a a pretty stand up job pulling a shot of espresso and play really good music. The atmosphere is always up beat and fast paced and if you need to get stuff done at a quicker pace it is definitely encouraged where they are always busy. The people watching and distractions are great both inside and outside the cafe and this is great for my brain.
Off the beaten path is a great little shop called Caffe Rosso in Arriva. These guys, thanks to Dave's roasting, make my favourite espresso in the city. My preffered style is not that of most people and I understand that but they tend to be lower acid and less like your typical single origin pacific northwest style coffee, yum. It's bright and lively and rare is the occasion that you will go in and not get a seat to work at. As Rosso grows I expect that more and more people will recognize their greatness and it will get busier. The staff are friendly and though they take a little longer to get your coffee made they are really good at chatting while working so it never seems too long.
And lastly my favourite spot, it could be the proximity to my home, or it could be that is the closest on my route into work. But more likely it's because they do everything well. They make good coffee, they have decent cafe food and they have a wicked beer list. The beer list is really the swinging factor here. I think they might secretly have the best beer list in the city. Having something other than a coffee while working hasn't really caught on here in Calgary or really North America the way wine and beer is the norm across the pond but these guys understand what's up and do an awesome job curating a list for those that don't want or need caffeine in the afternoon and the individuals that understand there is more to life than bud or pabst. If you haven't guessed which Cafe it is I am talking about then you are probably not one to have a random afternoon beer or don't like exploring all Calgary's cafe's have to offer, but if you already knew I am talking about Kawa (pronounced Ka-va) good on you, enjoy your next afternoon brew and maybe I'll see you there!
With spots like these the only people really bitching about how much better "the scene" is elsewhere are those that haven't wanted to explore their own backyard. The grass is greener where you water it so get off your ass and water some grass. I know I've been enjoying the up and coming lushness. And remember an afternoon drink isn't going to get you wasted nor is having a drink while work the devil incarnate... it might even be good for you!