Become a Joe Bar-barian

As anybody who is a Facebook friend of ours will know Wendy and I spend an unnatural amount of time at a Capitol Hill café called the Joe Bar. It’s around the corner from our house. While staggering distance to home is always important for a good hangout, that’s not why we go there — two, three times a day. (Foursquare still reports that neither Wendy or I are Mayor of Joe Bar. Which is statistically impossible. Except the Joe Bar inspires loyalty like no other café in town.) Across the street from the Harvard Exit movie theater in the landmark Loveless building, the Joe Bar has evolved into a crucial neighborhood nexus.

Unfortunately there are not many independently owned neighborhood hang outs due to increasingly sterile corporatized public spaces. You can feel the difference between a place like Joe Bar and the disguised Starbucks “Faux Bars” popping up around town. Walk in to Joe Bar nearly any time of day and you’ll find a friendly face or a warm conversation. Or sit and read unmolested. The relaxed Parisian-style charm and close confines of Joe Bar makes friends of strangers. Something there slows down the day to a civilized pace. That ‘something’ is an authentic community.

Summer evenings are regularly spent outside sitting with our dog and a nice glass of rosé or Blanche De Bruxelles. My favorite Sunday morning tradition is to breakfast at the outside tables with a simple soft-boiled egg, coffee and croissant. Like I said, civilized. The coffee is great. The crepes, both sweet and savory, are some of the best in town. The home-made soups are killer on those cold northwest autumn days. The prices are more than reasonable. They better be or I’d go broke.