The latest thing that everyone is talking about is the Actual Cafe in Oakland. Found on the corner of San Pablo Ave and Alcatraz, Actual Cafe promises to be, well, actual. That is to say, it’s a real cafe. As opposed to an imaginary one.
Alright, so they’re not trying to oust that very favorite cafe that exists only in your imagination. But rather, Actual Cafe promises that they’re “not just another wi-fi shack.” I’m totally on board with this idea, because my favorite thing to do in a cafe is to chat with a friend (or a few friends). But think about how many times you’ve gone to a cafe to see everyone with faces buried in laptops, especially at the chain variety of cafe (think Starbucks, Peet’s). It’d be great if people could interact, and not just via social networking platforms.
Actual Cafe provides a place for people to really get together and connect. Sure, there were a few loners on laptops, but they’ll find that it’s no quiet place to work. While there are a couple booths, most of the seating is either at a long bar, or a series of tables that have been pushed together into one long table. You’re sitting right next to whomever else is there, and you’re bound to have to talk at some point. Plus, there’s a high likelihood that you can talk to each other about bikes. That’s because many of the patrons are also cyclists. The cycling community is drawn to Actual Cafe because they have this beautiful indoor bike parking on the wall. You can just see my yellow Colnago in the picture (the second bike from the right). I have to apologize for the photo quality. My camera was out of commission, so I used my phone.
Anyway, Actual Cafe also has a separate bike entrance that goes right to the indoor bike parking. The bikes are protected from wayward chairs and such by a metal railing. It’s really quite wonderful for the coffee drinking cyclist. The prices weren’t cheap, but the vibe was good, the indoor bike parking amazing, and the food quite tasty.
Actual Cafe also has rotating art exhibits on the wall, and a a bike set up on a trainer with a generator hub that will play a movie for you while you pedal. It’s a pretty cute little hang out spot, and it’s locally owned, so I feel good about that. I may even try to do some of my blogging there–but to avoid being one of those laptop people, I’ll probably try to talk to those sitting around me. Maybe I’ll see you there….