#BlogPostCard, Everyday Akron Stories

Coffee Shops as Third Spaces | #BlogPostCard

By: Bronlynn Thurman

The sound of a grinder turning on broke through the constant murmur of conversations and soon the nutty, fragrant smell of coffee beans wafted through the dimly lit space. I took a sip of the latest single origin on pour over and its medium body coated my tongue with notes of chocolate and hazelnut. Coffee shops have always held a certain sort of romantic fascination for me. They’re not just places to get a cup of coffee – they’re a convening space, an office, an art gallery, a third space where people have chance encounters. Coffeeshops are the places where people fall in love, where stories are written, where friendships are made.

The L Word, a Sex in the City-esq show that follows a group of lesbians navigating the tricky world of romance and friendship, was often set in a coffeeshop. I can name a number of other shows that were centered around these sorts of third spaces; Cheers comes to mind almost immediately. There’s something about the local coffee shop, the neighborhood bar, the public library that has a low enough barrier of entry and enables such disparate groups to hold space together. 

Nothing could be truer than Akron Coffee Roasters and their second location, Asterisk Coffee Bar. Whether I’m running into a former teacher, having an animated discussion about books with a friend, or bonding over some obscure pop culture reference with a fellow patron, coffee shops, and specifically ACR, have served as a place for those chance encounters and for me to connect with my fellow humans.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the time to go beyond the space that the shops provide and mention the people who make it come alive. The ACR/ACBar team have such a keen attention to detail and love for what they do and that’s reflected in the quality of their products. I don’t believe that I truly had coffee until I became a patron of ACR. Because of Albert, Eva and their team, I have come to appreciate the beans I consume and my palate has evolved in the process. In the four years since I’ve begun frequenting ACR, these wonderful humans have expanded my world view in ways I wouldn’t have comprehended, and I’ve gained some significant friendships. For that, I am sincerely grateful.

Bronlynn Thurman is a community advocate and connoisseur of local coffee. She can be found exploring cities and hiking trails IRL or virtually at @_BronT_ on Instagram and Twitter or on her blog, Tea Time with the Mad Artist.

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