Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cow Town Coffee Houses

Even though it's 2011, I still sing Bob Wills' classic song "Big Balls in Cowtown" pretty much every time I drive into Dallas or Fort Worth from my suburban haunt. Yes, D/FW is a far cry from a cowtown these days, but I like to affectionately think back to that time I don't remember.... Now, you go to buy feed, and they sell it in five (not fifty) pound bags to hipsters interested in organic, free-range eggs. Not that I really mind. I'm rather pleased with the trend towards Austinization in various neighborhoods of the Big D. Despite my pastoral nostalgia, I enjoy a good indie coffee house or shop selling ironic kitsch. So, here I compile a list of coffee houses I've dug up and explain their qualities and their deficiencies.

This is a charming little coffee house located in Uptown Dallas. It's situated in an old bungalow and is very pretty and cute from outside. However, on the inside, it's a little cramped and it can be quite difficult to find somewhere to sit. I find the feng shui of the interior a little off-putting. It purports to have a "living room" feel, but the organization of the furniture is a bit awkward and uninviting. The coffee is good, the baristas bearded, but the chai is obviously made from powder, which is very disappointing. The neighborhood is all right; you can't really walk to anything very interesting from the house, just some restaurants, bars, and residences, although there is an aged cemetery not too far away, where you can read and admire graves from the Civil War (I mean, The Late Great Unpleasantness) up to the present.

First started in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, Espumoso Caffe is now also expanding to Las Vegas (randomly enough). The hipster in me cries a little at this. Ah local business! How swiftly you pass! It's a pleasant little cafe (oh, I mean, caffe, excuse me), not very large, but comfortable, with good coffee and friendly baristas. It's pretty small, but not terribly crowded, with nice, chill music that doesn't obstruct studying or chitchat. The area is fairly nice but small--a few blocks of interesting shops, but stray too far from the gentrified path, and, if you're a girl, you might yourself leered and whistled at.

The Pearl Cup

Situated in Lower Greenville, the Pearl Cup is a lovely coffee house. It has a modern, almost industrial, feel, which, granted, is not my favorite style. But, the square metal tables that you share with folks all walks of life are conducive to studying and tuning out the hubbub of people ordering lattes or paninis. The coffee is good and they offer a fine selection of teas. What's more, the neighborhood is lovely. Nearby are interesting shops, old houses, bars, organic grocery stores--the works.

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