Are English words devoid of all meaning? Has coffee lost its allure? Do y’all just straight up hate me? These are the questions that haunt my sleep as I think of all the times someone has told me, “Let’s get coffee!” and I reply with an enthusiastic, “Yeah, just text me!” In that moment, I am this puppy.
The thing is, you never actually text me. I know when that hotline bling, that can only mean it’s my mom checking in with me about my protein intake, and not you asking me what day we are getting coffee. Congratulations, you’ve shattered my already fragile heart, yet again.
The promise of coffee, food, and stimulating conversation evaporates into the nothingness that envelops us all. Here’s what your false promises are doing to me:
First of, I am in love with coffee. All coffee is good coffee. Yes, even decaf (suck it, coffee purists at The Underground). I am also in love with the idea of getting coffee. I imagine Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background of the coffee shop. Perhaps I am wearing a turtleneck, reading Simone De Beauvoir (but most likely taking a Buzzfeed quiz) while I wait for you to arrive, and bask in the presence of beautiful people with their beautiful art-latted lattes.
However, I guess you take “We should get coffee!” to mean a very, very distant hypothetical, one that could probably only be realized once we’re both 80 and have nothing left to live for.
You have made a disillusioned, bitter millennial out of me.
Please also understand that though I may be extremely busy that day, I will always make time for a little coffee break. I will also be the conversation partner you always dreamed of. We can talk about anything, really! How stressed you are, how many emails you have to write, how great your costume was this year, etc. Are you worried that I’ll ramble on too much? That’s a valid concern, yes, but… I can change! Let me show you that I can change!
Granted, maybe I should be the one taking the initiative to get coffee with someone. Oh, have I taken the initiative.
I’ve resorted to Facebook, Whatsapp, text, Spotify messages, you name it. Next up, sky-writing. I guess I am just destined to live a life of lonely coffee outings spent staring longingly out the window, wondering what I did to deserve this, until I get hungry and have to get up to buy an apple cider donut or three.
And now, having said all of this, I’ll just sit here and wait for the FB messages asking me that we should “Definitely, totally get coffee for sure this week!” to start rolling in.
Let the deception continue.
It’s hardly surprising that a beverage with such a storied intellectual history–something something Enlightenment coffee shops exchange of ideas AP European history–should be so popular at Brown. Coffee, and with the businesses it fosters, is an integral part of College Hill, from the shops that dot Thayer and Wickenden to the syrupy coffee-milk that is a unique staple of the beautifully strange state of we live in.
And yet there’s much to suggest that the coffee scene here isn’t quite as unified as it could be; witness the trek necessary to get to Dave’s Coffee and/or Coffee Exchange, the lackluster options at Starbucks and Blue State, and the plainly mediocre stuff they serve at campus establishments (RIP Bear Buzz).
Most campus establishments, that is. The Underground, which opened Monday, appears to be the coffee shop that College Hill both deserves and needs. It combines the geographic centrality of the Blue Room, the expertise of Dave’s Coffee (which supplies the roasts themselves), and the enthusiasm of the Brown/RISD Coffee Society (who were consulted for proper brewing methods).
The Underground, that space directly under the Blue Room whose name you might have forgotten, has a storied history. Evidence of its past as a key player in Brown social life is on display today. Take the bar on the room’s wall: do you think that was just for show? Nope. Back in the Wild West days of legal drinking for all those 18 years of age and older, there was a genuine bar down there. Indeed, the Underground might be worthy of its own Ra Ra Brunonia post. It has been the host of everything from Funk Nites to IFF screenplay reads, with a few desperate last-minute study breaks in between.
On Monday, however, the Underground will take on a new role. Just in time to revive Brunonia from a crippling post-Spring Weekend group hangover, a group of students will be launching a coffee shop that has been months in the making. Katie Murphy ’16, Yousef Hilmy ’16, and Viktor Gavrielov ’15 have been working with SAO, the Blue Room, and even President Paxson to radically reimagine the space.
The grand opening is on Monday at 9 a.m., and they’ll be serving until 2 p.m. Though Opening Day will only be 5 hours long, Hilmy promises they will eventually be open for “long hours.” If you can’t make it to the Underground before the early closing, don’t fret, because there will be an opening party from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. that night. You can find more information about the Underground Coffee Shop on their (freakishly popular) Facebook page here.
Imagine a paradise where the sun streams in on all sides, the greatest hits of the late 90’s plays softly in the background, and it always smell likes toast. Where could you possibly find such a magical place? The answer lies on the corner of Thayer Street and Fones Alley. Yes Brunonians, this paradise is Au Bon Pain.
I know what you’re thinking: Au Bon Pain? That grimy yellow awning across from Starbucks that’s pretending to be fancy and French? When I saw it, I was scared too. Then one fateful day, I decided to give it the good-old-fashioned college try. Here’s why ABP is the best place on college hill:
1. The Soundtrack
The first thing I love about ABP is the soundtrack. The greatest hits of the late 90’s/early 2000’s will leave you feeling mellow as can be. Sugar Ray, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow, Feist, the song Gotta Keep Your Head Up (on constant loop). None of this hipster esotericism: you will recognize every song. And ABP doesn’t play from a radio station; they have their own CD. It’s given to them by the company. CHRISTMAS WISH LIST!
Fall break is almost upon us. For those of us staying in Providence for the long weekend, this downtime is ideal for exploring new places in the area. While Blue State will always be near and dear to our hearts, it’s time to get off the Hill and see where else you can get a coffee buzz. See below for some of the best places in Providence to enjoy some down time and get your caffeine fix.
White Electric Coffee
White Electric Coffee is a bagel-eating and coffee-drinking hipster’s haven. Located on Westminster street, White Electric’s menu includes a variety of breakfast and lunch items, including an impressive list of alternative bagel toppings that range from Laughing Cow cheese, to Tofutti cream cheese, to Nutella. The coffee is claimed to be “some of the best in Providence,” oh, and they make their own coffee stout.