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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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                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                  We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                  We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                  So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                  Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                  What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                  Boundaries are limits

                  —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                  Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                  Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                  Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                  Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                  How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                  Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                  1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                  Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                  You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                  To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                  You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                  • When do you feel disrespected?
                  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                  • When do you want to be alone?
                  • How much space do you need?

                  You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                  2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                  Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                  Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                  3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                  Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                  That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                  Sample language:

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                  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                  Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                  4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                  Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                  Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                  Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                  We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                  It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                  It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                  Final Thoughts

                  Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                  Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                  Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                  The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                  Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                  Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                  They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                  Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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