Ostensibly a coffee place, but with live music and DJs - Recloose used to spin here often - tons of books and board games, some hot food, ranging from basic bagels and cream cheese to highway-stop style nachos(from a glass enclosed nacho machine) and pretzels. They had really, really cheap Tang, too, if you were ultra broke(I think it costa quarter). The room was a relatively large space filled with big antique wooden tables, persian rugs and old sofas, that had been re-upholstered in ruby red, royal blue and deep gold velveteen. There was also a separate small room called the "fishbowl" for smokers- you had to actualy leave teh cafe and go into it through a second outer door- but the glass walls were inside, and you could see all the smokers lounging out in there in front of a mural of sea creatures.
The place to go to after Tower Records closed, and compare with your friends what you all bought. In addition to DJs there were local bands on occasion, movie nights that sometimes ran till dawn, and droves of RPG groupies playing D and D and Magic. And of course there was always an interesting conversation with a stranger or town charecter to be had.
When I lived in Ann Arbor, MI, there was a coffee joint called "Not Another Café", and the question was whether that was a declaration of uniqueness or a pander to the common groan of seeing yet another trendy café pop up in the area. Now I live in a place where there are more cafés than stop signs...
When asked in college what my ideal job was, I would often reply (and still do), "lounge lizard". Sadly, the closest I've ever come to realizing this dream, aside from that time I played piano at that one bar in Brugge, was when I would lug my keyboard to the Not Another Cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan, or to the monthly Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Coffe-House Night at Hillsdale, College. Becuase I had a keyboard and no one could stop me, I would often perform there.
This poem has shaped my thinking for the past 10 years. I saw it performed for the first time in 1995 in Ann Arbor Michigan at the National Poetry Slam. My friend Jess and I went for the afternoone to check it out, and were sitting in Not Another Cafe on South U. It was amazing. All of the poets from all over, performing their hearts to a room full of strangers.