Sammy Nickalls
December 03, 2015 1:21 pm

A restaurant, a coffee shop, a local bar—whatever the place may be, you may go there first purely for food, coffee, or a cold beer. But after a while, when you get really lucky, that place may become something else entirely. . . something very, very special. It becomes a refuge—a community that can always brighten your world when it’s getting a bit dim. You go there not just for a burger or a cup of coffee, but for the essence of the place, something you can’t possibly get anywhere else.

When I started going to Square One Coffee in Lancaster, PA , it wasn’t even for the coffee (I was more of a tea girl back then, though that changed after I tried one of their cappuccinos). I initially checked it out because my friend worked there, eventually frequenting more and more often as my friend became a love interest, and ultimately a serious partner. (There’s seriously nothing better than your boyfriend bringing you cappuccinos.) Eventually, I moved to Lancaster to be closer to him, and as a writer, Square One became my place to, well, get sh*t done.

But after a while, Square One morphed into something different—much more than just a place where my boyfriend works. I started to go there even when he wasn’t working, just to get a cup of coffee and chat with the baristas. I got to know them, one by one. Soon, I was going to employee parties, giggling with the staff over wine on the outside terrace under Square One’s beautiful glowing strings of lights.

For a girl who had just moved to a city where she knew practically no one, Square One became my refuge —so much more than just a cup of coffee. Here are some of the very best things about having a coffee shop community.

It’s an introvert sanctuary

I’m the ultimate introvert, but even I get lonely, working from home and living by myself. Heading to your local coffee shop is the perfect way to socialize while still being a total introvert, because it’s essentially a bunch of people on their laptops or writing. It’s like you’re all on your grind TOGETHER. Best thing ever.

You meet people with so many awesome talents

Need a photographer? Odds are that you know an excellent one if you’re part of a coffee shop community. (In fact, one of the Square One baristas took my HelloGiggles headshot!) Want to buy some local art to decorate your blank apartment walls? Artists will frequent there for inspiration, and often, their work will be featured on the walls! That’s because. . .

. . . coffee shops are the perfect community for creative people

Coffee shops attract creatives because it’s the perfect place to come together and support each other’s endeavors. (Honestly, I don’t think anyone asks about how my book is coming along more than the baristas and fellow writers at Square One!) It’s where you can go when you’re celebrating your creative successes, and where you can go when you’re struggling with an imagination block. You can draw inspiration from others there, and you can let your spirit flourish.

CAFFEINE, GUYS.

You get SO much work done because those lovely coffee drinks made by the talented baristas are just so delicious and suddenly you’re bouncing off the walls and can take on the world.

You learn so much about awesome events happening in your city / town

Everyone needs their caffeine, and baristas hear so many different conversations and tidbits when various people come in to get their cup o’ joe. As a result, I can often ask pretty much barista what’s going on this week in Lancaster, and they’ll be able to list several things off. It’s a pretty fabulous way to be in the know and go to awesome (often free!) events you otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

Your tastes become classy as hell

Baristas who are passionate about coffee often have ultra refined palettes, and as a result, everything they eat and drink is totally superb. (Recently, I went to a Square One dinner; it was catered by a local chef, and everything was HEAVENLY. And naturally, all the wine they chose was totally perfect.) When you hang out with them more, your own palette starts to slowly improve.

You get to know some of the most amazing people in the entire world. 

If you have a coffee shop community, you’ll count yourself lucky every single day. The smart, creative, beautiful people you’ll meet will enrich your life beyond all expectations.

(Image via author’s Instagram & NBC)

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