Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Hanging Out In: Brew, North Oxford

Tiny, delightful Brew on North Parade combines many of my fave things about coffee shops, including quirkiness, fancy cakes, and being a very, very short walk from my house. 

Since, as pictured, it is hipster as hell, in the name of objective blogging, I went undercover to explore.

Accessories for dressing up as the kind of person interested in buying hand-ground Sumatran coffee from an indie retailer with a record player include: plastic glasses (selectspecs.com), gap yah scarf (ASOS), antiqued gold-ish deer head necklace (Primark), ironic expression (model's own).

Just kidding, these are my regular clothes. Hashtag academicjumblesale.

The centrepiece of Brew's decor is this shiny, shiny coffee machine. I have no idea how this makes coffee but it looks like a robot and has all kinds of exciting dials and knobs on it and a bird on top and therefore I love it. 

On the right side of this photo, note a pile of sticky cinnamon buns. From personal experience I can tell you that these are an excellent breakfast food. For your convenience, I am also working my way through all the other cakes, and so far they've all been delish. 

Pro tip: this is also a prime people-watching location. One time I sat next to an earnest tutorial about an Ian McEwan novella during which there was a reference to Daria. One time I came with a friend and we sat opposite a guy who she was 70% sure had messaged her on OKCupid. Almost always there's a swoony beardy guy in a cable knit jumper. 

Upsides to Brew!:
  • It's run by two cute guys and is always full of cool attractive people having interesting, eavesdroppable conversations. This is a bonus.
  • They have great taste in music and a giant record collection. If you feel like listening to Neil Young, Animal Collective, Neutral Milk Hotel, or some band so cool you've never even heard of them on vinyl, this is where you should hang out.
  • They really know about coffee. I mean, I don't understand it, but I'm impressed. Tastes good to me.
  • They sell super cute birthday cards and notebooks and things, which I love.
  • The sugar comes in tiny jars. Swoon.
  • A little bird told me they sometimes host teeny tiny gigs here on Sunday evenings.
  • It's super close to a bunch of university buildings, so if you are a student, you get the holy grail of wifi access. (This also means it is in between my house and my tutorials.)
  • I have been here for over an hour and a half now and no one has yelled at me. (cf. the nearest Starbucks, which put up a bunch of annoying signs telling students not to stay too long, the cutthroat capitalist jerks.)
  • It is so cute I can't even deal. Fact.
Downsides to Brew:
  • There are exactly four tiny tables, so if you get there at the wrong time, you are doomed to take away or perch awkwardly on the corner of a bench. Boo.
  • The seats are wooden stools and benches. Ouch. Cushions, please.
  • The coffee only comes in one size: small. I think this is some kind of function of the shiny shiny coffee machine, but also, I need more caffeine than you can fit in one tiny latte.
  • They MIGHT be judging me when I put two spoonfuls of sugar in said tiny latte.
  • I just overheard cute coffee shop boy disparaging Harry Potter. Not cool, cute coffee shop boy. Not cool. 
In short: go to Brew, and join me in pretending to be a cool, attractive person. If you can find somewhere to sit.

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