Tag Archives: Places to Write

Places to Write: Lucky Penny

There are still a few more days in the term to finish off those essays! Here is the last in the series on Places to Write by our media assistant, Kyle Cross.

Places to Write: Time Travel in Lucky Penny Coffee Co.
by Kyle Cross

Places to Write: Lucky Penny Coffee Co.Located at 6440 Quinpool Road, Lucky Penny Coffee Co. is a small coffee shop with an immensely atmospheric quality that you won’t find anywhere else in Halifax. Everything about this café radiates ‘history’; everything sends you back to the past without ever leaving the present. It is, in many ways, like a brand new antique.

The dessert plates and saucers recall a bygone era. In fact, as one staff member tells me, every dish is vintage. Even the pennies sitting in a pool of water with real (yes, REAL) flowers take you back in time; they are, like the saucer pictured above, out of circulation and thus a thing of the past.

The stained mahogany tables and the antique dishes make me feel like I’m at Le Dôme Café or La Rotonde in Montparnasse, two historic literary cafés that were frequented by such writers as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. Lucky Penny’s thick, wooden antique tables, along with its vintage mahogany decorum, give the café this Modernist salon-like atmosphere. The crowd at Lucky Penny also tends to consist of students of the Arts, as a staff member tells me, and, as I glance at others around me, I see a woman reading a novel by Atwood, another reading a book of poetry, and a man reading Kafka. I get the feeling that I’m in Paris, but I am, of course, sitting in a café on Quinpool Road. Needless to say, it is a great place to read, write, create stories, eat scrumptious desserts, and drink fine coffee.

Lucky Penny Coffee Co. interiorInstead of cheap over-priced drinks, Lucky Penny serves heavenly coffee. Do try Lucky Penny’s Black Honey brew, a medium blend roasted locally in Berwick, Nova Scotia. The coffee is a blend of the global and the local. Its beans are grown in Costa Rica and roasted in Berwick. Lucky Penny might be described as an establishment of glocalization, what with the locally roasted yet foreign coffee beans and the vintage 20th-century, European-style decor.

Lucky Penny Coffee CoLucky Penny is very much a fusion of the past and the present. The banner for Queen Elizabeth High School, which was shut down in 2007, also creeps up on and invades the present. Like the pennies, the Queen Elizabeth banner is a thing from the past, although it does sport the name of the current reigning queen.

The interpenetration of past and present, along with the interplay of global and local culture, makes Lucky Penny a great place for creative intellectuals to let their imaginations run free.

(Please note that Kyle has no personal or professional affiliations with the places he writes about).

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Places to Write: Lion & Bright

It’s essay-writing season!  If you’re looking for Places to Write off campus, our media assistant Kyle Cross has some suggestions for you. Today we have the second installment in the series, this one about Kyle’s visit to Lion & Bright. (We note again that Kyle has no affiliation with the places he’s writing about).

Places to Write: The Locality of Lion & Bright
by Kyle Cross

Located in the re-developed community of Halifax’s North End on Agricola Street, Lion & Bright is a spacious café and wine bar that serves both locally-roasted coffee and local food. I feel that the owners are too humble when they characterize their establishment as a café / wine bar; it is also a restaurant, a local grocery, an arts space, and a proper bar – a place where you can buy fresh produce, delicious coffee, a work of art, or a Screwdriver (a vodka orange, that is).

Because it’s so spacious, this café / bar/ restaurant has plenty of seating. You can claim a place on the long wooden bench, on a stool at the bar, or in a comfy leather chair on the perimeter of the room. Wherever you choose, you’ll have more than enough space to read, write, study, as well as eat and drink.

Need some coffee to fuel your writing? Lion & Bright serves North Mountain Coffee, which is roasted locally in Berwick, N.S.  Pictured below are Lion & Bright’s London Fog and North Mountain Peruvian Blend, an electrifying medium roast that will surely awaken your third eye. Looking for a unique caffeinated beverage to indulge in?  Try their Red Wine Hot Chocolate or Red Velvet Mocha, which I highly recommend! (Imagine an espresso infused with red velvet cake).

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And if you’re craving some protein while you’re working away on that end-of-term paper, you can take advantage of Lion & Bright’s kitchen and order one of their pulled-pork quesadillas; it’s to die for. Or if you want to shake off your nerves after studying for that accumulative exam you can head to the bar and order a Blueberry G, made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, house-made blueberry juice, natural cane sugar, and carbonated club soda. Lion & Bright also has on tap various locally-brewed beer, and both local and imported wines are available.

The brick wall, elongated beams, fog lights, and exposed vents make Lion & Bright seem like an abandoned distillery or warehouse. In fact, its interior is inspired by European café culture, as one staff member tells me, where many cafés are situated in historic buildings that were once textile or flour mills, or other production plants and factories.

This place howls with creative energy. It also serves as an art gallery and hosts various events such as art exhibits, poetry readings, and musical and theatrical performances by local up-and-coming artists.

It goes without saying that Lion & Bright is a university student’s paradise, given that here you can seque from study time to social time. Glancing at others around me, I see groups of students and young professionals alike discussing their ideas with each other, drinking their beer while they either agree or disagree with the theories of their peers. If Karl Marx and Engels were alive today and living in Halifax, they would be at Lion & Bright arguing about and debating the specifics of The Communist Manifesto, trying to figure out how to unite the workers and intellectuals of the world, all while enjoying their locally-grown grub.

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You should experience the unique atmosphere of Lion & Bright, whether it’s to do school work, go out for dinner, or have a couple of drinks. You can even buy your groceries at the Local Source Market, which is attached to the café and belongs to the same owner. For information on Lion & Bright, visit their website: http://www.lionandbright.com/

 

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee

Essay-writing season is here, and if you’re looking for a place to write with just the right ambiance, our media assistant Kyle Cross has some suggestions for you. This is the first in Kyle’s series “Places to Write” in which he reviews local cafés. (We note that Kyle has no family or financial connections with the cafés he will be reviewing). If you’d like to suggest your own favorite places to write, let us know in the comments.

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Places to Write: Cabin Coffee
by Kyle Cross

Places to Write: Cabin Coffee

Just as the cafe’s logo suggests, Cabin Coffee makes you feel like you’re situated in a log cottage outside of civilization, completely removed from society, surrounded by powdery snow in the middle of January. However, it is, in fact, located in the heart of downtown Halifax at 1554 Hollis Street, across from Salter’s Gate Apartments. In many ways, it is an embodiment of the fusion of rustic and urban lifestyles, an embodiment that speaks to the city of Halifax itself: not so metropolitan as Toronto, not so rural as Summerville.

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In my introductory blog in this series, I suggest that readers and writers alike might want a warm and humble nook in which to write – somewhere they feel at home, without all the distractions, of course. Well, if you’re looking to get away from people and feel like you’re on the outskirts of town without leaving town, plant yourself in one of Cabin Coffee’s comfy, brown leather chairs; they will envelop you in love while you read, write, and drink copious amounts of coffee. As you can see, the log-constructed back wall shuts out the bustling downtown core, allowing you to focus intently on the work that sits in front of you, possibly taunting you saying, “You won’t have finished me by the time you leave this cabin.” If you take advantage of the stained wood to help block out the world, though, you will, indeed, tackle that work like a Japanese sumo wrestler.

My vegan and vegetarian friends, rejoice! The ‘moose’ on the sidewall of the Cabin is, in fact, fake; it is merely a decoration that adds to the whole rustic-like atmosphere of the cafe. This place gets cozier and cozier with every picture: a fireplace in the downtown core! Although the fireplace, too, is not real, as you focus on that seemingly overwhelming assignment, you will feel the imaginary fire sparking your ever-so-creative imagination – that is, if the coffee doesn’t do it for you. The fireplace will relax you as you write, and write, and write; it will settle your nerves while the coffee sets your mind ablaze.

Yes, that is a classic Coleman lantern pictured above. Like the fireplace, the lantern can be seen as another motif for the crackling imagination. What’s more, it adds to the feeling that you are sitting in not so much a downtown coffee shop as a cottage in, say, Summerville, Nova Scotia. Let the lantern guide you from the gauzy, wooded narrow path into the vast open field of your written work. You needn’t worry: the coffee will help you get to your destination.

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Although these red and green balloon animals seem festive enough to be in a National Lampoon movie, they do not merely ring in the holidays; they are representative of Cabin Coffee’s new beverage, their Picante Mocha, which is on for a limited time only. If this doesn’t fire up your imagination, you must be Jack Frost. And I must say that I was skeptical at first, but once I sipped the mocha a few times, I was hooked. The slight spice accentuated the chocolaty mocha quite nicely. If you plan on visiting Cabin Coffee, though, you must try their Costa Rican blend; it is a toasty medium roast that will inevitably set fire to your creative superpowers.

I highly recommend going to Cabin Coffee, whether it’s to write, read, study, or just sit and chat with your friends next to the fireplace. Opening hours are 6:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday; 7:30 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday; and 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday. Go experience being nestled in a cozy cottage in the middle of downtown Halifax.