Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Independent coffee

If you want to sit down with a cup of coffee (plain or fancy) and read, browse the web, or chat with your neighbors, you don't have to settle for your generic Starbucks. In fact, we are lucky to have no Starbucks in Lexington; only unique local places run by dedicated local people.

Blue Sky Bakery (at Nelson and Lee), A Joyful Spirit and The Patisserie (both on Main), and the Lexington Coffee Shop on Washington St. (above), are all one-of-a-kind. Even the one not-totally-independent coffee spot in town - it was part of a small regional chain called the Daily Grind, which recently expanded nationwide - just went solo to stay personal, and has renamed itself "Java 23." At the Lexington Coffee Shop, you can sip your double espresso in the company of paintings by Rockbridge area artists, and listen to local musicians play on Wednesday mornings.

(Lexington even has its own coffee roaster, just north of town!)

The one drawback: It's very hard to remain anonymous.

9 comments:

Abraham Lincoln said...

I really like this photograph of the shop with the coffee stains on the sign. Neat. I also enjoyed reading your post.

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Marc said...

Good to hear you still have places like this. Much more personal than all the chains, which I always try to avoid.

JM said...

I really like those hanging signs but you seldom see them here...

'Still waters' is gorgeous!!!

Tanya said...

We don't have a Starbucks around us either. Probably one in Roanoke but not sure. We have Mill Mountain which is a Virginia company. You probably have them there too?

Peter said...

I'm happy to read this! I have nothing very particular against Starbucks, but there are just too many of them. If we have to eat and drink at world-wide chains wherever we go, the charm of travelling will somehow decrease. Starbucks at Seattle would be OK, but not necessarily in Paris (or maybe then just one of them)!

lisasarsfield said...

You have a great eye for what will make a good photo and interesting topic. I enjoy your blog1

Steffe said...

No Starbucks in Sweden yet. Blue Sky Bakery sounds like the place I would visit.

Fio said...

I agree with Steffe. "Blue Sky Bakery" sounds friendly. Ehm, ehm, could you reserve a place for me on Saturday, please :D

mkhansen said...

Abraham Lincoln - I agree, the coffee stains are a nice touch.

Marc -- Where we lived before this, there were only chains. They have their advantages, but it's definitely much more personal here. (Though I will say that I think the success of Starbucks forced local coffee shops across the US to offer better coffee.)

JM - Thanks! I'm going to post more signs -- they really add to the character of the place.

Tanya - We don't have Mill Mountain. I''ll keep an eye out for them when I'm down in Roanoke.

Peter - You're quite right about the charm of traveling, as I'm sure you well know. Is even Paris full of Starbucks? Argh! It's not as if Paris doesn't offer a decent cup of coffee! However, I was recently reading Bernard Berenson's (the art critic and connoisseur) diaries from the 1950's, and I was surprised to find him singing the praises of a brand-new chain of inns called "Jolly Hotels."(!) He found them throughout southern Italy (run mostly by people from Trieste), and was thrilled not to have to stay in the local hostelries, which indeed sounded uncomfortable (even by student standards). Perhaps, as with coffee, the chains have raised the bar in places where it was previously low.

Lisa - Thank you very much!

Fio & Steffe - Very good choice; you can't go wrong at Blue Sky, and it's one of the best people-watching spots in town.