I bumped into a friend who has just joined a mobile start up company at Barista in Phoenix Mills. "Aajkal yehi mera office hai," he grinned.
"Hmm.. investors ko bataana padega aap unke kitne paise roz coffee peene mein waste karte ho..."
He replied, only half in jest, "Rs 500 a day is a steal. When our office across the street gets ready we'll be shelling out Rs 1.75 lakhs a month on rent alone!"
Point to hai. Reminds me of the scene during the earlier dotcom boom when junta had made the Oberoi lobby and coffee shop their adda-cum-office. Paanch saal mein kuch progress hua hai: cheaper coffee and data modem cards to access internet anywhere. In the near future we'll see more of public wifi access.
Current hotspots for startup types include:
Just Around the Corner, Bandra
lobby of Marriott hotel
And in Bangalore, the Leela coffee shop
If you know of more, kindly enlighten.
Of course, coffee shops are not just the preserves of recently-quit-job-looking-for-VC types. There are many other species, and in fact each location has its own peculiar set of customers.
Barista Chembur: popular with MLM (multi-level marketing types). They make snazzy presentations which promise anyone can make 3 crores in 2 years if they work hard enough and get enough other idiots to join.
Barista & CCD Lokhandwala: The preferred hangout spot of filmi and TV wannabes. I suppose they actually hang out here waiting to catch the eye of some hotshot director, or at the very least Ekta Kapoor's casting crew.
Barista, Colaba (near Regal cinema): Always full of backpackers - has it got a mention in Lonely Planet yet? Possible description: 'A place where you can rest your dusty feet and use the free loo, for the price of one black coffee'.
At all Baristas, everywhere: Arranged marriage 'interviews': ladkas and ladkis who've located each other at shaadi.com. Remember Konkona meeting Irfan Khan in Life in a Metro?
Of course usually there are parents and sometimes even extended family in tow. After a few pleasantries they move six tables away and give the boy and girl a chance to 'talk in private'.
Kuch nahin jama to you don't need to feel like a loser. It was just a casual meeting at a coffee shop!
Previous posts on coffee shops:
Coffee shop cribs
Barista bik gaya