User Submission: ALL I WANT IS A QUIET COFFEE SHOP THAT HAS WIFI AND DOES NOT CLOSE EARLY!

Guest submission, which we encourage at the Portland Point (email portlandpoint@gmail.com with your story):

I have to work on a big writing project Friday night. Where’s the best place to work on a big writing project?

A remote chateau in France. Obviously. But I cannot afford such things, and besides, I live in Portland. So! Portland it is. My apartment is disqualified on the grounds that, well, I want a change of scenery. I know! A coffee shop. I’ll go camp out in a local coffee shop after work on Friday. Put in a good four hours on the ol’ laptop. Yeah. That’ll be great. Let’s see, where can I go? There’s a Coffee By Design branch on India Street. No, they close at 7pm. Hmm. What about the one on Washington Ave.? Nope, closes at 5:30pm.

Okay. So I could hike all the way down from the East End to the CBD on Congress Street which is open till 9 (according to their website) (kudos to CBD for having a website). Do they have wifi there? I’m trying to remember. I’ve seen people using laptops, but I’m not sure if there’s wireless. There must be, right? No? I don’t know. Their website doesn’t say. Dammit, do I have to pick up the phone to learn this?

Moving on. There’s that JavaNet place in the Old Port. That place has internet access, it’s right there in the name. How late is that JavaNet place open? OH I DON’T KNOW, THEY DO NOT HAVE A WEBSITE. JavaNet, would you like me to go into your cafe and use your own wifi to make you a website? Come on! YOU HAVE INTERNET RIGHT THERE IN YOUR CAFE. MAKE A WEBSITE. PUT YOUR HOURS ON IT. Fine. Fine. I’ll call Javanet. I will Google them and get a number. Here is a number. Dial. Ring. Ring ring. An automated voice answers! This number is no longer in service.

Is JavaNet in the witness protection program?

Well, there’s that other coffee shop, the one down the street from JavaNet, that used to be something else and is now, I believe, called Common Ground. I am perfectly happy to work in the company of youthful hippies, provided people are discreet with their hackysacks. Oh this is hopeless. No website. No hours anywhere. Do they have wifi? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe they communicate via incense signals. There’s Arabica, closer to downtown… another fantastic coffee house, with friendly baristas and a fine selection of beans. Another fantastic coffee house with no website. I can find their Yelp listing, but that doesn’t tell me their hours. HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I HATE WASTING MY PRECIOUS CELL PHONE MINUTES ON FINDING OUT YOUR HOURS WHEN YOU COULD JUST TELL ME VIA THE INTERNET?

I’m really thinking now. There is one cafe near me that’s open late, quite late by Portland standards, but every night it has a lineup of singer-songwriters performing, that or spoken word events. I’m sure if you’re into these things it’s great, but if you just want a place to sit quietly and drink coffee and read or get some work done, this is pretty much the opposite of what you want. There is another excellent, performance-free coffee shop just a few blocks from my apartment. Look, it has a cute website. Sadly, the website is more cute than informative, in that it does not list the shop’s hours. I’m fairly certain they close around 7, though. I guess I could walk over there… and ask…

In conclusion, and in the spirit of supporting local businesses i.e. not going to Starbucks, you will find me with my laptop in my local bar on Friday night. At least that will be open until 1 a.m.

Portland, why do you want to eat up all my cell phone minutes and also destroy my liver?

Published in: on August 27, 2008 at 5:40 pm  Comments (4)  
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Late Nights, Hungry Bellies, Still Hungry Bellies

Anyone interested in a late night snack, and you ain’t talking about the ageless rotating hot dog at 7-11? Anyone? No, me neither. Thank goodness, because the options are stark. However, I did find myself at Becky’s late night window recently. The memory is hazy, but I distinctly recall standing in the back, perusing a list of familiar foods, telling the gentleman within “double bacon cheeseburger”, and devouring it like I’m at a company-funded lobster bake. Thank you, Becky’s Diner. Other than that, what do we have? Denny’s I’m ruling out not only because I’d have to drive there, also not only because it’s a chain (buy local of course), but also because box-eggs with paste tasting potatoes and disastrous service is not what I’m thinking of at 2 am.

I was reading the framed Phoenix article about Hot Suppa at the restaurant and was surprised to hear that the original business plan was to first take over its predecessor and then to expand to include a dinner menu and then even… and then even… yes – to be open late or all night. The article was dated from December 2005, and needless to say, the goal has yet to be achieved. We can still hope – that would be a perfect late night spot. Of course, let me caveat by fully recognizing that with a population hovering at 65,000, we can’t possibly have a sustainable demand for a 24 hour diner. I can only imagine this fact of logic has contributed to the shoving aside of this intriguing idea.

Probably our best bet is to plan ahead and have the eggs and bacon waiting for us at home. You know, someone should open a late night breakfast sandwich place out of their kitchen, laws be damned. You’d make a killing. No, a better idea: breakfast sandwich cart. In the Old Port. I’m happy to share the idea, so that someone else does it – I will benefit appetitely, if not financially.

One last thought, the reopening of the Miss Portland among the eyesore construction on Marginal Way is a much welcomed bit of news. Let’s join in prayer that it will be all-night. Why do I know it will close at 10?

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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