Back to Basics Synergy 

Wire-LESS Coffee Shops

image via Wikimedia

These days, the words ‘Wi-Fi’ and ‘coffee shop’ seem to go hand in hand, especially in America. It’s almost as if one can’t survive without the other. In this technologically advanced age, Wi-Fi Internet connection seems to be a requirement for many patrons when they go out in search of the perfect java joint. It would be absurd for a shop not to offer Wi-Fi, for free, too. But why limit the possibilities? More and more people seem to deprive themselves of social interactions at local coffee shops while immersing themselves in Facebook, BBM, Twitter or the like because of the convenient Internet connections. Perhaps it’s time we reconsider our coffee drinking ways. How about through Coffee & Games? Coffee & Haircuts? Or perhaps Coffee & Mutts!

Many independent coffee boutiques are hoping to find their niche in an increasingly cluttered space. Recognizing the gaps of current big chain establishments, this round up of innovative coffee shops look to introduce unique concepts and challenge the current way of how coffee is typically being enjoyed – in front of the screen.


Snakes and Lattes: Whenever I get a chance to pull out dusty old board games from under my bed, I get a bit nostalgic. I remember the celebrations (and tears when I lost) of days passed during my childhood that don’t come as often now that I’ve hit my quarter life. I’m competitive by nature and so games, of any sort, spark my interest. It doesn’t hurt that delicious cups of coffee are served to keep my system alert (for devising strategies of course). Newly opened Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, Canada, started by Parisian owners Ben and Aurelia are looking to bring back the fun in everyday living.

image via Torontoist.

They’ve stocked up on over a 1000 games, all family-friendly, multi-player and short (remember how you had to endure through 5 hours of Monopoly?). Best thing is you pay only $5, and you can essentially play all day! Though the shop currently does not offer Wi-Fi, they haven’t fully ruled out the possibilities just yet. In the meantime, they consider their location, being strategically situated close to other wireless cafés, as an alternative for those unwilling to part with their electronic devices. The main goal for Snakes and Lattes, is to get individuals to personally connect, whether it’s with friends or new acquaintances through the love of games.


Percy and Reed: These days, some salons offer cups of tea while you wait to get your hair done, others, snacks during your visit. Many offer nothing more than what you came for, and some like it that way. But for Percy and Reed in London, England, they are all about intimacy, chic-ness and that perfect start to your morning. While you are getting your new ‘do, you can sit comfortably in one of their 12-seat only salon chairs and nibble on your pre-ordered breakfast from their breakfast menu.


Items range from butter croissants (my favourite) or sausage, egg & bacon ciabatta and even porridge and danishes. Of course, coffee is on the menu too. The cost of the food is added to the final bill. Although this isn’t your average coffee shop, it’s definitely a place where you can enjoy your brew sans the Internet. Now I wonder if you eat first, then get a haircut or eat while your stylist is working their magic…


Community Bark: Rare are the days when pet owners can gather with their pets and converse with other pet owners about the latest animal products or just about the weather. Especially since many coffee establishments have a strict ‘no pets’ policy. Every year in Toronto, Woofstock, North America’s largest dog festival, brings together dog lovers from all around town. But why only once (or twice) a year? Community Bark in Wisconsion, U.S.A., operates a coffee bar in addition to the pet shop for pet owners and grooming services for their pooch. Once you get your cup of coffee, it is encouraged that you enter The Bark Lounge, a place for owners to enjoy delicious coffee and people snacks, while your pet enjoys doggie treats and the company of other pups. Moreover, the space brings together other dog owners and lovers too so that these individuals have the opportunity to engage while taking care of their prized companions. Though free Wi-Fi is offered, I doubt there will be many owners glued to their computer or Smart Phones as a variety of activities are offered at the lounge such as, puppy kindergarten classes, people and dog massages, dog birthday parties, or a seminar given by a local veterinarian on the proper care of your dog.

Do you know of any other innovative coffee shops in your neck of the woods? We’d love to learn about other interesting establishments!

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