Friday, September 28, 2012

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Coffee. Only Coffee. Nothing Else.

House rules. We know them. We largely abide by them. Most places that serve food or drinks — from McDonald's standard no-shirt-no-shoes-no-service policy to no-phone-calls-at-the-bar and keep-your-tongue-in-your-own-mouth rules at New York's PDT — have them.

A new Berlin coffee shop's rules, however, have some Berliners in a snit. The Barn — Roastery opened last week and almost immediately caused a furore lively discussion in the German press. At the heart of the debate is the cafe's no-stroller policy. Der Spiegel reports:
At the entrance to the café stands a one-meter (3 feet) high concrete post in the shape of a bowling pin that prevents parents from bringing buggies inside. In case the message wasn't clear enough, a sign on the window shows a pram with a line through it.
In fact, it's not just stollers that are verboten at the Barn — Roastery. Owner Ralf Rüller has instituted policies against pets, music, smoking, sugar, and, I'm hearted to read, ridiculous fake-Italian names for espresso-based milk drinks. Instead, order a 3, 6, or 10 oz cup. Laptops? A few are permitted at the media table. This, we are led to understand, is a place for coffee purists.

Rüller has been at pains online to clarify that the post can be removed for wheelchair access. As I mull over a trip to Berlin, his cafe is on my to-do list. But first, brandy distilling in another coffee-loving town: Portland.

The Barn — Roastery
Schönhauser Allee 8
10119 Berlin Mitte

Subway: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

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