Saturday, 26 February 2011

Chocolate Soup [closed]

...this place is alright.

IFF (That's logic for if and only if) you like overpriced food, glaringly bright colours (which really destroy the otherwise lovely quietude of a hangover, I might add), weird tables/booths, and lots of tourists and yuppies.


But it's not all that bad. I mean. It serves hot drinks. See?

I didn't check the wireless because I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Coffee Names

In a shocking move, this post has nothing at all to do with any café in Edinburgh. Rather, I want to highlight another post on Brown Pundits about hard-to-pronounce names. Razib Khan mentions how a friend of his was upset when he failed to pronounce her name correctly, even though both of them were Indian in origin. He points out correctly that a) he's from an entirely different section of India (Bengal), and wouldn't know anything about the pronunciation of names in Southern India b) it's perverse to take pride in having an unpronounceable name.

More relevant to this blog, however, is a note in the comments. Basab Pradhan writes:
At Starbucks, after a few hand offs, the name that the Barrista shouts out can be unrecognizable. So I started giving “Bobby” as my name. Easy that way. I know a lot of Indians who similarly have a “Starbucks name”
That's pretty interesting.

So, in the interest of being more culturally and linguistically aware, I will now be marking cafés on whether or not they manage to pronounce my German (and Lithuanian and Jewish) name correctly. If I hear one 'Mr. Lituer?' for 'Littauer', I am going to start giving my name as 'Dr. Prahandeeninadeshnakali' and see how they manage it.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Free wifi map

The Edinburgh Reporter has a map of venues with free wifi. It includes things like Starbucks and libraries where you can't just get at it, but it's still potentially useful.

Beanscene (Nicholson St and Grosvenor St)

When Beanscene first arrived in Edinburgh about ten years ago it was quite exciting. Open til 11pm, regular live music, CD sales in association with Fopp (RIP) - and in an unconventional move at the time it was non-smoking! I remember more people complaining about not being able to smoke than applauding the move... how the world has changed.

The coffee was never terribly good, at one point the decaf was actually nicer than the real thing. But people liked it there with the big sofas so they went anyway.

Over the years the business has opened and closed around town and there are currently two branches. The CD sales have dried up, there's not much live music and there's an air of desperation about them now. The only thing which kept the places going, as far as I could see, was the lure of being open til 11 with free wifi and sockets aplenty. Students who didn't want to hang out in the library could hang out and drink their soy chai lattes in comfort.

And then something changed. The opening hours went into flux. The sockets got sealed up. Now the Haymarket branch is open til 8pm (if you're lucky) and the other til 10pm (when they feel like it). And there are no sockets. And the wifi isn't all that. And the coffee still sucks.

Beanscene #fail

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Espresso Mondo

On the corner of Lothian Road facing Starbucks and the Odeon, it looks lovely and cosy whenever I pass.

It's very warm.

They have no wifi.

There are few sockets.

It's generally full of awful people who are very noisy.

And get this: they put one shot in a small or large coffee and charge 50p for an extra shot.

Not going back there...

Friday, 11 February 2011

Black Medicine - Marchmont [closed]

Sadly, I am not always happy with the Chaplaincy. Why? Because I go there every day. And the coffee, let's face it, is completely awful.

So I went to the third Black Medicine I know of. It's in Marchmont, on the hill. It's a long way away, but if you're a student, you probably live next to it.

I don't like this one as much as the others. They do a good hot chocolate, but there are never enough seats, when there are seats they are too tall. I didn't check on plugs when I went, as I was reading a book.

Most importantly, though, I'm just not sure about it. It's never caught me like the others. I know Dylan Moran has gone here, though, so that's something going for it. Go if you want a BlackMed experience.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Chaplaincy

The Chaplaincy is part of the University of Edinburgh. But not really. It's technically in Potterow, but anyone can come in. They have a donation box for tea and coffee, that I mostly ignore.

I spend most of my days and hours here. Like, all the time. Like, every day. Part of the reason I made this blog was to find different places to have coffee. But in the past couple of weeks, I couldn't be bothered.

Wireless: uni, good. Coffee: bad, free. Plugs: plentiful. Friends: everywhere. Heating: yes. Chairs: the majority of the time. Verdict: home.