Best Late-Night Cafe - 2000
Coffee House - CLOSED
The Coffee House is probably the most no-bullshit social destination in the bi-state area. There's a vibe there that's just down-to-earth -- not fake or rowdy or snotty or even too jubilant, just quiet and friendly. There are a couple of pool tables and trivia machines and dartboards, and plenty of ashtrays. The coffee is good, and you can buy some licorice to go with it. There's often a real nice lady behind the counter with a sad-looking dog. The basement has some unusual decorations, some board games to play and a seriously out-of-tune piano. It fits right in with the unassuming stores, bars, restaurants and homes of Dogtown that surround it. Even its name is about as unpretentious as you can get. A number of Alcoholics Anonymous vets seem to have made the place their haunt, and off in a corner, somebody has placed a bucket of free buttons that say things like "GETTING FUCKED UP IS NOT AN OPTION I CAN LIVE WITH" and "ONE DAY AT A TIME." The backs of the buttons have begun to rust. The place is about sobriety -- the calm, even welcome kind. And it's open until 3 a.m. Monday-Saturday and about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. That's reassuring, isn't it?