Artsy and Writerly Spots on Our Radar
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because creative types need places of both solitude and sociability. And drinks help.
Urban gentrification: It’s a phenomenon that has gathered steam across the United States and the globe over the last decade. For Washington, D.C., Busboys and Poets has always been on the edge of that trend. The chain of coffee-shop-cum-community-gathering spaces offers itself up as a bridge between communities — a sort of Switzerland of the gentrification wars, where urban blacks, young white professionals, hipster bike messengers and college kids of all colors come together over a menu of Southern soul food, Chesapeake Bay classics and Middle Eastern fare, with some vegan favorites mixed in. The menu even comes with a “tribal statement.” Read the story here.
Who doesn’t dream of having that perfect writing space, nestled in nature’s quiet beauty, where all of life’s distractions are kept at bay? Meet the Leighton Artists’ Colony in Banff, Canada. Because it’s not just the seclusion, über-cool rooms and the breathtaking scenery that make this place a draw for scribes from all corners of the globe. It’s also not just the chance to rub elbow pads with other artsy types staying there. What makes this place the ultimate writer’s retreat: They will feed you and clean up after you. “Most artists find it hard to leave,” says the colony coordinator. No surprise there. Read the story here.
Study rooms are common — one-on-every-block common — in South Korea. But they’re virtually nonexistent in the United States. YoungJin Lee’s NY Study Café is the only one in New York City. And it’s so much more than a study room. With computers, group meeting rooms, board games, lockers, books, snacks, Wi-Fi and coffee, it sounds like your average co-working space, right? Except that it’s all available for $3 an hour. And it’s homey — definitely more college coffee shop than office. But there’s more: It also hosts a cultural exchange meetup and local art shows, and is a place where tourists can get help navigating New York. Read the story here.
Today, across the U.S., beer and books are becoming happy bedfellows. From Seattle to Denver to Houston, bookstore bars are popping up as literary and social spaces highly valued by their communities. It’s no secret that booksellers are struggling; it’s a dark cloud. But the bookstore bar is a bright silver lining. Entrepreneurs like Michael Macomber have figured out how to adjust their business models to suit today’s market. There’s the obvious benefit: Attaching a bar to your store helps subsidize the books, which are often more intriguing than those offered by the big chains. Sup up, book nerds! Read the story here.