Every time I go to write something about coffee or beer in Columbus, I find myself opening with a phrase like “the coffee scene in Columbus is growing” or “Columbus beer keeps brewing.” If I listed the opening line of these articles side by side, they’d probably sound embarrassingly similar, but their intention is entirely true. Every time any of us turns around, someone has announced a new brewery (there’s a new one coming to Powell, did you hear?) or a new coffee shop. Usually this is accompanied by an expression of concern over saturation, but my understanding is that we’re nowhere near breaking point, and I take it as a point of pride in my city that we hear of more shops and breweries opening under local ownership while bigger chains are scaling back.
That brings us to the present point: did you hear there’s a new coffee shop downtown? Which one, you ask? It’s called Hemingway’s Coffee Nook, and it’s tucked into the lower floor of the 175 on the Park building next to the Columbus Commons.
The self-styled “1920’s Parisian style cafe” is a deliberate throwback. First, it’s a throwback to the early 20th century neighborhood cafe where literary types would hang out to sip coffee and discuss the politics and literature and philosophy and the like. There’s also a throwback to the type of “second wave” coffee shops that first flourished in the 1990’s. These are different from “third wave” coffee shops that focus on coffee as an artisan food stuff like wine, cheese, chocolate, any ingredient.
“Nook” is the appropriate designation for the shop. It’s not tiny, but it’s certainly not huge. It’s tucked into the ground floor of the building. Follow the signs from the Third St. entrance, or find it easily through the doorway from the Columbus Commons side.
However you enter, you’ll find the shop comfortable and cozy, with a central counter and a row of small cafe tables with chairs and plush benches. Make sure you also eye the decorations, including the copper-covered Italian Arduino espresso machine that hand-pulls your espresso (see above).
There’s a fun sense of humor to the shop, too, like menus with unique drinks. Or you can get to know the crew (J.J.’s single, ladies!).
They can supply coffee for home brewing as well, with a respectable list of single origin or custom blended coffees.
I’ve been happy with all my drinks at Hemingway’s (although I’ve only been in a couple times). I’m a little more straightforward in my coffee these days: pour-overs, espresso, maybe some cold brew. But I’m always willing to venture out, in this case with the Ode to Paris: espresso, steam milk, a little French vanilla, whipped cream, and cinnamon. Pleasantly sweet without tasting like a candy bar.
There are all the requisite snacks to go with your coffee: muffins, cupcakes, cookies, Sammy’s Bagels, plus yogurt, salad, and non-coffee drinks.
There are even some fun coffee-related treats like chocolate-covered espresso beans.
Have I mentioned they have a patio? It’s covered and it has a nice (although slightly obscured) view of the Columbus Commons.
So… coffee drinker? Book worm? Working downtown and need a break? Now you know about Hemingway’s Coffee Nook!