So I'd like to post some followup to my "what I think makes a good coffee shop" post, but I'm not going to do that now. I will, however, discuss a new place that has a lot of whatever it is (except the great coffee, oddly enough). The Outpost Lounge in Bed-Stuy is a pretty nice place to sit. Here are a collection of my reflections on the few hours I just spent there, numbered for your pleasure:
1. Liquid consumables. The coffee itself was adequate, but only that. It was slightly less expensive than the excellent coffee available in the more northerly parts of Brooklyn. That said, they had excellent tea, Awesome (!) cran-lemonade, and they served various boozes. Among the various downers my favorite was The Bed-Stuy Mimosa (without having tried it): a red stripe mixed with OJ or Pacifico and grapefruit juice.
2. Solid consumables. They had food, which I think is a big plus. This is not just your usual 'we had baked goods shipped in' stuff, but cheese plates with fresh mozzarella, chili of the meat and veggie kind, and pasta salads. Their salad was excellent, they had baguettes, all kinds of good stuff.
3. Location. It's in Bed Stuy. The clientele was 'mixed,' but only sort of. The ratio of 'hip' looking people to 'not hip' looking people shifted upon entering to such an extent that it was impossible not to notice even for someone as oblivious as myself. As a result I'm not sure how I feel about the place in some capacity. Maybe it's bringing a nice new opportunity to the neighborhood? Maybe it's forcing renters from their homes? I have no idea, but it's probably worth thinking about. All that said, a big plus about it's location is that there was room mid-day on a kinda dreary sunday, which is a big deal.
4. Music: they played some jazz that was nice, but then there was an awful lot of music that I loved, but which also made me think: holy shit I must be some kinda target demographic now. Of note: queen, madonna, george michael, GnR, Christ this list could go on forever.
5. Seating. There was a huge back porch that looked beautiful from the inside. Too wet to use a computer at, though. There was plenty of seating inside, though this lead to a dearth of walking room. Once you were in place it was not uncomfortable, but if you had to move for any reason things got awkward.
6. Decor: falling apart wood things that were obviously gotten on the cheap. It looked nice, inexpensive, and somehow not contrived. That was particularly refreshing given the ostentation its competitors. There was some 'local art' but it didn't dominate anything and was easily ignorable.
7. Hunkerability. There's free wi-fi, and at no point did I get anything like a dirty look for having had a computer plugged into a wall for hours while only having ordered a single beverage. People are doing their own thing, but they're friendly enough if you need them to move to plug in a computer, or if a cringeworthy song comes on and you happen to have forgotten to keep your verbal cringing to yourself.
All in all, it seemed to have most of the things I want out of a coffee shop going on except the great coffee. It reminded me of a place I used to go in Clearwater whose slogan was "because you don't have anything better to do" or "because there's nothing else to do," or something like that. The only difference is this is New York and there's a lot of better things to do. So why go there? What can I say, I like sitting in a place full of strangers listening to music and drinking stimulants.
PS. Lucky Shot, the place on Driggs in Greenpoint has very good coffee (Stumptown) made by people who know how to work an espressos machine. It is worth checking out.