At 3:20 on a Monday afternoon, doesn't it seem like people should be at work? Well, they are. They're at coffee shops with their laptops. Or at least they're at Zeli, packed in and bustling. I thought maybe I went at the wrong time of day, but the reviews at Yelp.com tell me maybe not.
Zeli Coffee Bar, at 695 Colorado Blvd., is an adjunct to Vroman's Bookstore. It should be perfect - you buy your book then slink into the coffee shop and sit down for a read. Zeli has couches, tables, and a bar facing the window onto Colorado Blvd. Plenty of outdoor tables, too, but it was too cold for me to sit outside yesterday.
So I ordered a latte and found myself a chair in the corner. There was no table available so I had to prop up my laptop in my actual lap. That thing gets warm! (The laptop. Then the lap.) I was crowded, crunched and personally toasted. There was no place to put the papers I needed to read from, so I stuck them on top of my purse beside the chair on the floor and glanced down to refer to them when I needed to. When I had a chance I moved to the couch which was more comfortable, but dirty and torn.
With all that movement and all those bodies, people were working intently and being relatively quiet. Upstairs at Vroman's there's an extensive, wonderful kids' books section and several moms came in with little kids. I thought, "Oh no," but even the kids were civilized.
Music: nice, instrumental, eastern European. But I was stuck under the speaker, so too loud where I was sitting.
Service: impersonal but efficient.
Wifi: free and fast.
Coffee: bad. I mean BAYAD. I like my coffee hot, but it was still too hot to drink ten minutes after I got it. When it was finally cool enough to dare a sip, it was flavorless - flat - blah. Overcooked? I don't know. My guess is if they hadn't burned it it might have had some taste, but I'm not an expert on how to make it, that's supposed to be their bailiwick. Maybe water that hot is good for tea.
I love Vroman's. LOVE LOVE LOVE Vroman's. It's the best bookstore I've ever been in. EVER. Powell's is wonderful but overwhelming. Vroman's is just right. Zeli is beneath Vroman's standards.
Onward. The Quest continues.