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8 Unique Cafes Every Coffee Lover Should Visit

8 Unique Cafes Every Coffee Lover Should Visit

There remains a vibrant café and coffee shop culture in the UK at present, with independent outlets providing exceptional value and rivaling the efforts of commercial brands such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee.

Café culture remains at its most prominent in the heartland of Europe, however, with nations such as France and Italy continuing to set the trends for others to follow. There is also a rising trend for quirky, independent cafés around the world, which are conceptually unique and offer an outstanding experience to visitors.

So let’s take a look at eight of the most unusual and unique cafes from around the world:

1. L’OisiveThé, Paris

It is only right that we start in Paris, spiritual home of café culture. The beguiling region of Butte au Cailles is also home to some particularly quaint resorts, with the L’OisiveThé providing a relevant case in point. Essentially a traditional tea house that also serves coffee and an array of delicious pastries, its charming interior offers an insight into a bygone age. Perhaps the single most fascinating aspect of this café is the fact that it also doubles as a yarn shop, which immediately infuses the building with color and a sense of vibrancy. There are even weekly knitting evenings for enthusiasts.

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    2. The Vintage Emporium, London

    The city of London is a veritable celebration of unusual sights and structures, so it stands to reason that it should be home to a fascinating café culture. The Vintage Emporium in Brick Lane is one that truly stands out, however, as its architecture and interior design elements have been borrowed straight from the Victorian era. Littered with historical relics and record players from the late 1800s, it is a peaceful and beautifully presented café that truly reflects traditional English values. The location also serves as an antique boutique, so there is even an opportunity to invest in some one-of-a-kind pieces for your home.

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      3. Snickarbacken 7, Stockholm

      If you are a fan of conceptual structures and cafés, you should find time to visit Snickerbacken 7 in Stockholm. Although it boasts a traditional coffee bar set-up, it is located at the front of an art gallery and concept store, hidden discreetly in a narrow alleyway. Stark and mysterious in equal measure, it provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and is ideal for those in search of solitude. It also has the benefit of serving some of the best coffee on the market, so there is additional appeal for connoisseurs throughout Sweden. Its design is borrowed from the classic back-street café, and its contrast with a vibrant city location makes for an interesting visitor experience.

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        4. The Grounds, Alexandria

        A few structures around the world have a diverse and unusual history, and the Grounds Café in Alexandria, Australia is one of them. Since serving as a warehouse and pie factory during the early 1900s, it has evolved into a beautifully designed, eclectic and picturesque café that serves extremely high-quality coffee. The café terrace opens onto a lush garden of heirloom vegetables and aromatic herbs, so guests can see fresh and organic ingredients being grown in their presence. The Grounds even boasts a coffee “research and testing center” next door, to ensure that internationally sourced beans are filtered into the most delicious beverages imaginable.

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          5. Balzac’s Roasters, Toronto

          Everything about Balzac’s Roasters is tinged with nostalgia, from its quaint Victorian-age architecture to the grand, Paris-inspired interior. From its origins as the Pump House in 1895, its interior has been completely redesigned to replicate the classic Parisian café aesthetic and create an intimate space for diners. With a giant Vaudeville chandelier casting its soft light from the center of the room, it is a grand and unique location that remains exceptionally popular among Toronto residents and international visitors alike. It is certainly  inspired by its French-Canadian roots, and has a strong connection within the local community.

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            6. Mahika Mano, Tokyo

            It seems that the trend for location-inspired cafés is becoming increasingly prominent, with Tokyo’s unique Mahika Mano providing a case in point. It is essentially an island-theme café, and has drawn its inspiration from the relaxing havens that exist throughout the Pacific Ocean. It has become a major curiosity for visitors, primarily thanks to its unique decor, hammock showroom and the kind of laid-back environment that would not be out of place in a sleep clinic. If you like to relax while savoring your coffee, there is no finer café in the world.

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              7. Café / Day, Shizuoka

              Also renowned for taking the concept café to an entirely new level, is Japan’s hugely popular Café / Day. This location offers a brilliant and unusual twist on a classic open-air design, as the owners have chosen to interface its interior aesthetic with street traffic. Confusing and terrifying in equal measure, it may not be the most relaxing location but its spectacularly innovative design has distinguished it as a must-see location for all international travelers. Inspired by the contemporary open-air design of central European cafés, Café / Day raises the bar in conceptual architecture.

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                8. The Urban Station, Buenos Aires

                The majority of mainstream coffee shops are now equipped with wireless broadband and accessible wall outlets, which is extremely convenient when you consider the rise of freelancing. The Urban Station in Buenos Aires has taken this concept to the next level by designing a café-office hybrid that enables customers to operate in a professionally laid-out work space. Including staple features such as Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, it also boasts large table spaces and comfortable chairs and a contemporary office design to boost productivity.

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                  Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                  Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

                  Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

                  Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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                  Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

                  However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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                  The leap happens when we realize two things:

                  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
                  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

                  Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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                  Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

                  My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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                  In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

                  “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

                  Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

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                  Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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