Coffeeneuring 7: Illy
Date: November 16, 2014
Distance: 6 miles
It was chilly on the last day of coffeeneuring (where you bike to seven different coffee shops over seven weeks).
Coffeeneuring is always a learning experience for me. You learn things about yourself – like how I don’t have the patience for hipster coffee. And about biking in the city, like how much design matters when it comes to safe cycletracks.
For my final coffeeneuring experience, I went to Illy in Washington, DC. I was on my “real bike” too – my Specialized Sirrus. It was a gray-skied day and I planned on going on a long ride.
But a cold wind blew right through my fleece. I was chilled so cut my trip short. Coffeeneuring lesson learned: when it’s cold, you always need one more layer.
I’m a fan of Illy because it’s about as non-hipster as it comes. Located in the lobby of a downtown hotel, Illy is a chain out of Italy. They make a beautiful cappuccino with a minimum of fuss for just $3.15. It’s the best deal in the city. And it’s made quickly, by sweet West African women without a weird beard or nose piercing in sight.
There was a line of people who had come in to get out of the chilly day. But, within just a couple of minutes, I had my cappuccino and was ensconced in the early-2000s era lobby of the Renaissance Hotel.
With its mod furniture and piped-in lounge music, the Renaissance is an attempt at cool from another era. There are no distressed menu boards. Nothing is made out of hemp. You don’t have a table salvaged from a demolished building. Instead, the slick surfaces and high-tech feel of the lobby make it look like a set from Sex and the City. Lean back and you can imagine Samantha drinking Cosmos and talking dot-coms.
No fixie-riding hipster with a Civil War-era beard would be caught dead in such an establishment; it would be like going for drinks with your mom’s friends.
It’s the antithesis of hipster; I love it.
But don’t tell anyone, OK?