The Devolution of the Coffee Shop
Some of the greatest ideas of the past 300 years were born and incubated in the great institution of the Coffee Shop.
The cafe was the place to be if you were an artist, writer, musician, philosopher or abstract thinker. It was where you went to connect with people and exchange ideas. It was the oak room where passions swirled with the smoke of cigarettes. It was where you lounged outdoors sipping on your hot beverage while watching the world pass by.
I therefore find it somewhat ironic that the coffee shops of today have taken a complete 180 degree turn and are now synonymous with people seeking to disconnect with their surroundings.
Walk into any starbucks today and chances are you'll see a large percentage of patrons leaning over their laptops disconnecting from the world around them. I don't know, perhaps the great ideas online are being born in coffee shops. Maybe people still feel the compulsion to go to the coffee shop for inspiration even though the inspiration is being directed to points well beyond the cafe. But I do sometimes wish I can re-visit a coffee shop from the 19th century and get swept up in the intense connections and the ideas that flowed out of those communes.