This a great idea. A cafe where you literally pay for time. The coffee is free, but you’re paying for a place to sit, relax, think, and discuss. Presumably, you won’t be getting a fancy coffee there, but mostly just regular and decaf. It reminds me of what a coffeehouse was in the good old days. Being just a shade under forty, the good old days, for me, are roughly the late eighties and early nineties. Coffeehouses multiplied, but they weren’t Starbucks, but independent places that focused on providing a public space, rather than on providing fancy or, in some cases, even good, coffee. You played chess with strangers. You wrote manifestos. Your plotted and planned. It wasn’t a place to quietly bring your laptop and steal wifi (the internet, much less wifi, being not widely available), but something closer to one of the places Samuel Pepys visited for useful gossip and political intelligence. Not very profitable, though, so it wasn’t so hard for Starbucks to kill them off. Hopefully, this model will work. And maybe come across the pond and into my neighborhood.
This is taking historicism to a whole new level. I’ve been to several theaters that attempt to recreate the Elizabethan/Globe theatrical experience (namely the Folger in Washington, DC and the Blackfriar in Staunton, VA), but to actually use candles and flame-based lighting! That is awesome!