One of biggest problems about owning your own shop/place to hang out is that you can never experience and enjoy your place in the manner of your customers.
There's no such thing as going in to hang out, sit down, enjoy a coffee and just hang with friends. That doesn't happen. There's always customers who (rightfully) want your attention. Staff issues that need resolving. Operational issues that need your guidance. In all, a myriad of details that you can never escape when you are in your shop trying to "hang out."
As such, all owners (and staff members) need a place of their own to hang out and just enjoy themselves free from the needs of operations. The problem is that when you put so much attention on your coffee quality, you need to find a place that's your equal, otherwise you're just sitting there unable to enjoy your free time.
For years, I've had nowhere to go.
I'm happy to report that time has passed.
Spike Gjerdes (and his clan of food professionals) have turned up again in the form of Artifact Coffee in the sort-of-Hampden area of Baltimore's Clipper Mill project underneath I-83, next to the Light Rail and Pepsi - and I've got a place to hang out again.
For the coffee aficionados out there, Artifact has got a two group Synesso Cyncra, French Presses and Counter Culture Coffee. Yes, it's good. Yes, it's tasty. Yes, you should rush out there right away.
There's even a table or two outside where I can smoke a cigar. I'm just hoping that Spike stays open later so I can partake more.