There are some places in this world that will just serve to make you feel deeply uncool, no matter how young and awesome you previously thought you were. Nashville’s Barista Parlor is one of them. Being quite possibly the biggest caffeine addict on the face of the earth I was more than excited to check this place out, especially as I can walk to it from my house.
The Barista Parlor is basically a huge warehouse, painted blue with a massive arrow on the front that is populated with an almost intolerable amount of bearded lumbersexuals, all wearing skinny jeans and black-rimmed glasses and beany hats slanted fashionably over perfectly styled hair. The line for their handmade coffee stretches out the door.
When I first walked in I almost tripped over a blue motorcycle, parked in what I assume someone thought was “a fashionable fashion” inside the door. It was an embarrassing moment I wouldn’t wish on anyone but seriously… why the hell would you block the entrance to your establishment with a parked motorcycle?! We get that you’re a cool place filled with cool things, but are we supposed to literally fall over your awesomeness?
I’m sitting here now and I’m not entirely sure what to think of it all, really. I can’t actually think that much at all – the music is so loud. Ugh.
I’m also not in a great mood because I just had to line up for 20 minutes, and let’s remember, at this point I not only hadn’t had any caffeine yet, but I had just almost fallen over a motorcycle. That’s not a situation anyone feels happy about.
I passed several rows of glazed pink donuts as I waited to place my order, all glistening seductively from their glass cases like jewels, but I couldn’t see a menu anywhere. All I could see were the lumbersexuals expertly stirring, weighing and spooning things about like a plaid-shirted band of merry men in the middle of the open serving area. Eventually I was slid a specials menu, on which was written this:
LADY VICTORY – Vibrant, chilled espresso with sweetened jasmine. Lavender effervescence balanced by grapefruit citrus and botanical aromatics. Garnished with an edible flower. $7.
Seven dollars for a coffee. But not just any coffee. Oh no. It has a flower in it. And who doesn’t come to a coffee house to eat a flower? I know I do. I know I wake up every morning wishing my Nespresso machine had a flower-making option… (I was at this point starting to lose all hope that I might be cool enough for this place).
When my turn came at the register I was presented with a wooden board carved with circles. Inside each circle was a different delicately scrawled item. None of them made any sense; not to me anyway. The cashier hovered over me, eyeing me through his thick glasses. ‘What can I get you?’ he chirped, rolling up his checked sleeves.
‘Er… I just want a coffee.’
‘Right, well, which would you prefer?’
I bit my cheeks, eyeballs flitting from circle to circle. The menu read to me like ancient hieroglyphics. Nowhere could I see a word I would usually relate to a coffee at all, so I explained to the nice man that I wanted something like a latte while trying my hardest not to blurt that they should probably have a menu on the sodding wall so all the people in the painfully long line can actually decide what they want before they get to the front, when they’re forced to stand here like decaffeinated, clueless freaks in the headlights of their unconscionably stupid motorcycle. I’ve never felt so awkward (and uncool) in my life.
I paid my $13 for something resembling a latte (still have no idea what), plus a breakfast sandwich consisting of sausage, egg and biscuit with a jam, then took my seat at a wooden bench next to about twenty-three other people on MacBook Pros. I got my own out (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em) and waited for my breakfast amid the skull-crushing thump of rock music blasting from a speaker.
The coffee was good, in case you’re wondering. So was the biscuit thing, but honestly, I feel so out of my depth, so drastically uncool and quite frankly, a little fearful of stationary motorcycles in here that I probably won’t be making it a regular work-spot.
I know where to come if I want to eat a flower, though.