WHAT THIS POST IS ABOUT. Finding a seat in an Austin coffee house.
There are literally a million coffee shops in Austin but, oddly, few that I like to hang out in — until now.
Epoch Coffee, at least the one on North Loop, is the perfect blend of a funky, not-too-weird, designed experience. That is to say, it seems many Austin coffee establishments strive to be cool, hipster, irreverent, often to the point of being over-designed and trendy, which translates to . . . I can’t find a fucking seat!
When this happens I buy a pound of dark roast and head home. It’s no fun to hang out, which is kind of what you do at a coffee shop. (I’m looking at you Summermoon on Burnet, although I do love your Inferno roast.)
At Epoch North Loop there is an actual bar where people sit and mingle, if so inclined. The main seating area has a misfit assortment of worn tables and chairs, with 1970s lampshade fixtures suspended overhead. The tables vary in size: some large enough for groups, others smaller for individuals. Upholstered easy chairs, separated by end tables and lamps, line the walls and are great for us solo actors to spend an hour or two drinking coffee, working, reading, listening to music, surfing.
Making Epoch even more delightful is a whole ‘nother sitting room and ample covered outdoor seating for those warm Austin. Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd have graced the sound system, possibly a nod to Breakaway Records two doors down and the whole ‘70s music, vinyl vibe and those lampshade fixtures.
I’ve only indulged in a cortado and a “jam biscuit” (more imaginative than banana bread); both were as good as any coffee/eats combo I’ve had in Austin so far. And, let’s be honest: It’s pretty hard to get a shitty cup of coffee in Austin when at a “coffee house,” “coffee bar,” or “craft coffee” establishment.
So, for me, the coffee experience comes down to two things: coffee (a stellar dark roast and offering a cortado) and would I want to hang out there? Is there room enough? Is it comfortable, inviting, and not an over-designed experience that it’s pretentious?
Interestingly, the word epoch is defined as “a period of time in history or a person’s life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.” Epoch Coffee was an epoch for me.