visiting a hipster coffee shop

It's Valentine's Day. You decide to take your daughter on a little date to a coffee shop you've been wanting to visit. You pride yourself on your innate sense of direction and the fact that you rarely get lost. You make up for all of that by getting lost in a seedy area of downtown so confusing that the GPS doesn't even know what to tell you. You have to turn around so often that you wind up making yourself carsick. If there's one thing you've learned over the years, it's that the trendier the place, the harder it is to get to. Expect one way streets, back alleys, and zero parking. They believe the coffee is so good you should have to earn it.

You finally arrive, and as you pull into the parking lot of the converted warehouse/garage-turned trendy coffee establishment, you watch a girl with a strange hat and heart-shaped glasses walk inside. It's your first clue that you're a little out of your element. You walk inside to find it bursting with people wearing nearly the same thing. Everyone is in a different shade of grey. The girls are all wearing crop-top sweaters and leggings as pants, and the men have skin tight jeans on and tattoo sleeves. Everyone looks like they haven't washed their hair in a week.

Your knee-jerk reaction is to run. Run away as fast as you can. The entire room stared at you the moment you walked in. Two different men gave you the once-over. Not in a flirtatious way, but in a you don't look like us, are you lost? kind of way. The whole thing is ridiculous. You have hipster tendencies, including a closet full of v-neck tees, skinny jeans, converse, and a propensity to listen to music the rest of the world has yet to discover. You are not about to let a man in skinnier jeans than yours intimidate you, plus your daughter is watching, so you march up to the counter and order a cappuccino. You also stress-order a blueberry scone before noticing the cinnamon rolls and donuts.

You survey the room. There are a few solitary tables, but they're all full. The room is comprised of mostly community tables. It's repulsive to you, but you find the only two empty chairs at one and sit down. Your daughter sips her apple juice and smiles at the barista. People eye your daughter like they've never seen a child out in the wild before. You watch the man making your coffee. He has the waif-like body of a female model walking at New York Fashion Week. He has long blonde Fabio hair and a full mustache that would make Ron Swanson envious. You can't stop staring at him. It's all so over the top that you want to sit down with him and ask him about his life story. What was it about your childhood that made you think this mustache is a good idea? Another guy has a pink neck tattoo that at first glance looks like ringworm.

The place is bustling for a Tuesday morning. Who are these people, and why don't they have jobs? If anything, they look like they're all waiting for their shift at the American Apparel store a few blocks away. The girl in front of you has a top knot and those short bangs that look less like a trendy fashion statement and more like a kindergartner took to her hair with a pair of Crayola scissors. Everything in the building is a startling neutral, from the white walls to the concrete floor and the gray of everyone's clothes. Even the succulents in front of the white espresso machine look strangely devoid of color. It's the Instagram dream. The only pop of color in the entire room is your daughter's red hat that she insists on wearing 24/7. Maybe that's why everyone keeps staring; their eyes aren't used to seeing in color.

You're no stranger to a hipster coffee shop. You love them. They make amazing coffee, and the people watching is even better. But this one? It's in a league of its own. It's like you've stepped into another universe. Everyone looks like they're trying so hard to be unique that they've all become a carbon copy of each other. After you finish your stale scone and down your $4 cappuccino that came in a cup so small it could almost double as a shot glass, you leave. Not only is it hard to get there, it's hard to leave. You have to drive around the entire building and exit out of a back alley, which leads to another back alley, which leads to a completely random street. It's like you're a kid again, and you've been blindfolded and spun around and you're trying to get your bearings. The only tool to help you get home is the caffeine from your overpriced cappuccino.

But now you fully understand why Starbucks is always so busy.


  1. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is great, Michelle! We need to go together and give judgemental looks to these people 😂

  2. This is the best thing I've read all week!

  3. The trendier the place, that harder it is to get to. ABSOLUTELY AGREE!! I'm so not trendy and whenever I have to go to a place like this it's a guarantee I'll get lost, turn down a one-way street and likely park 2 miles further away than necessary - lol!

  4. "What was it about your childhood that made you think this mustache is a good idea?" I LOL'ed.

  5. Oh my goodness. I need to see this place in person someday. It sounds like the perfect place to go and stare back at everyone, like "what?"

    I'll never understand those super short bangs. I have literally had the same thought: Which child attacked your bangs while you slept? And women in crop tops + leggings as pants and men in skinny jeans smaller and tighter than my own...just NO.

    I swear your description makes me think they watched a few episodes of Portlandia and tried to replicate what they saw, forgetting that show is a PARODY.

    Did they at least have any good music playing that you could Shazam while you were there??

  6. WE ARE THE SAME PERSON. You nailed this description.

  7. It's ironic how all hipsters look the same :) Lol
    Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees someone and IMMEDIATELY wants to sit with them and ask them about their life's story! Hahaha!

  8. BEST THING EVER! This is hilarious and so spot on. This sounds even more amusing than when I visited a local coffee shop with a friend for the first time-when I drove up, the sign said "Your neighborhood vegetarian cafe" (um, what?) and the clientele was the weirdest assortment of people I have seen in one small area. Outside on the porch there were old people smoking and 20-somethings with purple hair and ripped skinny jeans. Inside, there were middle-aged businessmen in suits, a young man in a kilt with his wife and daughter, and "normal" hipsters with their converse and big glasses. It was fantastic and really intriguing.

  9. Great writing Michelle - it's like I was there. And now I'm especially grateful that I never actually have to be. That sounds like my worst nightmare.

  10. Mmm... Nothing like coffee with a side of judgment. That's why I always feel like I need to dress up when I go for coffee. Must. feel. cooler.

    It sounds like you were being punished for driving there and like you are at the risk of being attacked in the alley and assimilated. Don't real hipsters ride bikes instead of driving cars? You fraud.

  11. My friend and I went to a place like that downtown a few weeks ago. Neither of us drink coffee, but we just wanted somewhere to hang out and sit and get a chai or something. We get up to the register and they literally ONLY serve coffee. Like, nothing else at all. Who does that??? It was filled with the type of people you described too! Hooligans!

  12. Such a great post! I was laughing so hard that I was crying the whole time I was reading it. Have been in a couple of those coffee shops myself and they are just as you describe! Love reading your blog - you are a wonderful writer and I'm grateful you share your gifts with us on your blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Jane! You just made my day :)

  13. My town is becoming a bit of a hotspot for hipster cafes, and my friends LOVE them. I don't even drink coffee. And I refuse to pay 20 RM for a tiny cup of the one not-coffee option available...but I have visited a lot of hipster cafes with my friends around here, and asked for cup of warm water, while they rest of them have miniature affogato or whatever in the world they are ordering this time. I don't exactly relate to their intense love of hipster cafes.
    And yes, they are always down tiny alleys with no parking. I do have one favorite hipster cafe, because they serve churros, so I can have churros with my warm water.

  14. Ha, this is funny! I've considered trying out a trendy coffee shop in my town - maybe I won't now. ;-)


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