My locally-cognizant girlfriend claimed she found a new coffee place on Franklin Ave (Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, USA). When I went to investigate the following day, her astuteness was confirmed– the man mixing lattes at what I discovered was a Trinidad And Tobagain-themed establishment called “Scarlet Ibis” had opened his doors the day before.
From the outside, Ibis does not break away from the dingy/chic vibe mirrored in the façade of every Crown Heights establishment catering to hipsters (as opposed to the just plain “dingy” vibe of the area’s bodegas). It’s hard to spot as it has no signage beyond a small chalkboard on the sidewalk, but this will not surprise an avid NYC coffee hunter.
When I rolled up at around 9am on a weekday, almost all the seats were already occupied by square-glasses’ed white people clicking away on Macs and one old black guy reading a newspaper. Staff were young people, dressed like cool kids.
Aesthetics included exposed brick, a mural, some archaic coffee-making equipment posing in the window.
Yes indeed, I was in a Brooklyn coffee shop all right.
But Scarlet Ibis was using a strategy I hadn’t seen before at such a venue– when I went in, they had a waitress taking my order. She was also going around to the various encampments of computer-ers, repeatedly asking if they “wanted anything else.”
I surmised that this was their plan to monetize the “coffee shop hobos” who spend two dollars on coffee and six hours taking up real estate. I confess I’ve been guilty of such an offense myself, yet I respect this shop’s initiative to quell it.
Maybe constant requests to buy more coffee will guilt hipsters into spending more. Or leaving so others can patronize the establishment. Or, they’ll consume so much coffee that all their novels/blogs/cover letters will finally come to fruition.
Besides that, Scarlet Ibis has a really nice bar where you can sit and enjoy scents of the espresso machine and antics of the guy running it. You might even engage somebody in pleasant conversation, should you dare to leave your computer lid closed.
I got a small black coffee for $1.75, which was excellent if a bit too hot.