Coolness = Coffee Shops?

There’s an article in today’s Ann Arbor News about cafes that you may have seen. I’m happy to say Ambrosia wasn’t mentioned in it once, not because I don’t wish Ambrosia long luck and much prosperity, but because it’s nice to know there’s a cool cafe that somehow manages to slip under the radar of whatever is supposed to be cool and hip in Ann Arbor.

There’s a new Starbucks opening soon on Liberty and Main, which is kind of bewildering. There’s already a Starbucks on Liberty and State (a huge-ass one, by the way; the News informs us that this Starbucks is the sixth largest Starbucks in the country), just seven blocks away. The News says that with the addition of the new store there are five Starbucks in town, but if you count the two at Briarwood Mall and the two within the Maple and Plymouth Road Kroger, that makes eight. (That’s still nowhere near as many as San Francisco, which at last count has a whopping 68 Starbucks, with a new one opening any day now at King and Fourth in China Basin.)

Anyway, I’m all for coffee shops, and I want to try out some of the places mentioned in the News article that I’d not heard of before, but I’ll probably stick with Ambrosia (and occasional visits to Espresso Royale). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What gets me is that the town boosters quoted in the article seem to think that that ineffable quality of coolness that Ann Arbor is eternally chasing like the fabled holy grail is synonymous with being “rich with coffee shops,” as though that represented some sort of bragging rights over Ypsilanti or Dexter. It is to laugh.