Coffee Shop Nostalgia

I wrote this random little memoir last week with pen & paper (haven't done that sort of thing in a while) and actually felt really good to revert to that kind of writing exercise.  Thanks for reading!

Today I was talking to a friend about trying to schedule a time and place to hang out and she casually mentioned the Starbucks that's about halfway between our houses. Normally that would have been fine with me, as I'm a total coffee shop junkie, and I generally love Starbucks.

But not that one.

Once upon a time there was a local coffee shop that I frequented called the Power Surge Café. My friends and I went there a lot during high school and when home from college. It had a very cool vibe-- the standard tables and chairs, a sofa or two, a patio area, books and games, live music-- and I can't even begin to describe how amazing their signature blended drink, the Cold Fusion, was. I'll just say that it was made with mocha chip ice cream, and I've yet to ever find one that compares-- and I've been to a lot of coffee shops.

The Power Surge was across the street from the local state college, which has been gradually growing for the last 15-20 years into a full-fledged university. At some point while I was away at college, they built a shopping center across the street from the university and the Power Surge, and sure enough, directly kitty corner to my coffee shop popped up a shiny, new Starbucks.

Nowadays this wouldn't be a big deal, since they seem to be on every corner (walk up 16th Street in Denver, for example, and there are literally at least a dozen), mixed in with the occasional independent coffee shop, but in the days of the Power Surge, Starbucks was more of a novelty in our town. I knew from the beginning that it was bad news for my favorite spot.

Not too much later, the Power Surge Café predictably announced it was closing. They claimed it had to do with their lease and something to do with the university wanting the land the shop was on, but even now, years later, that little building is still there, sadly housing a real estate office.

That Starbucks is of course thriving. I've been to other Starbucks locations probably hundreds of times since then, but oddly enough I've persisted in a silly and probably pointless boycott of that one, knowing deep down that it had to have been the real reason behind the demise of the coolest hang-out and the best frozen coffee drink around.

I guess this is really just a part of growing up-- times always change-- but it's sad when a place is gone that once housed such memorable times, however silly and adolescent.

Like playing improv drama games from Whose Line is it Anyways? on the patio.

Or hanging out with my young cousin and my friend while she counted out her tips from her job at (a different) Starbucks, ironically enough.

And lots of girl talk.

I remember it most as a place where I sat, drinking good coffee, and chatting with my best girlfriends about life. And, well, I guess you can do that anywhere.

Except that one Starbucks, of course.

[editor's note: My friend and I did find a place to hang out-- a brand-new & very cool, independent coffee shop just down the street from that Starbucks.]