Cafe Witness

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

61C: A Cafe, a Bus Line, a Lifesaver

My internet is down at home this week, so I've resorted to working from cafes. This isn't far from what I already do on a daily basis, but there's a difference between working on the move by choice and being smoked out of one's abode.

Fortunately, I've found a convenient solution that's only a ten minute walk from my apartment: The 61C Cafe on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

Named after the main busline that runs down Murray Avenue, the cafe has long been on my radar though never a staple of my regular pit stops. That may have changed as of this week.

Although I've only been there a few times, I can already tell it meets at least 3 of my 5 Key Elements for a Good Cafe: Good Coffee (their decaf is oddly amazing), Variety (multiple types of cookies, pastries, specialty coffees and a wide swath of fresh-squeezed juices means I won't be bored anytime soon; plus, they have danish!) and Free Wireless, which is new since I last visited around January and the wireless was apparently leaking in from somewhere else unreliable.

I haven't been around enough yet to tell if they have anInviting Atmosphere or Friendly Baristas, but there appear to be a number of regulars on-hand so the place obviously has a stickiness factor. One of the more colorful characters is a guy who calls himself The Mayor of Squirrel Hill (self-appointed, apparently). He enters with aplomb and has his daily proclamation well-prepared before he walks through the door, so he can issue it without actually being asked. He also chats up any woman within a five foot radius, most of whom seem to tolerate him the same way you tolerate that vaguely amusing uncle who touches you a little too familiarly at family functions.

As near as I can tell, he appears to be the 61C's version of Norm from Cheers, except the folks at Cheers actually appreciated Norm's company. This guy appears to be more of a running joke than a supporting character; today he came in wearing a skirt, one of many he's purchased from a company in Seattle in the interest of "freedom."

Cafe Witness Tip: There are only two available outlets in the 61C, making a grand total of four plugs for laptop power sources. If you stop by, make sure your battery has a full charge because those spaces are prime property.


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