Remember the 80’s show “Cheers”? Where everybody knows your name? I have come to find my version of “Cheers” in my life – the Rooster and Moon Coffee Pub. I am there as I write this. Every so often I stop to look up from my laptop and peruse the diversity of people scattered throughout the space – the majority are on laptops, some have their earpieces in listening to their tunes, others are enjoying conversation with their companion, some are reading a book. I recognize quite a few as the regulars – neighbors, my roommate Diane going above and beyond by doing work on the weekend, Jim working on his business Pattern that creates and sells high-end natural body wash, other faces that I recognize but have yet to meet….and then me, trying to put into words all that I’m taking in around me.Is this coffee shop special? What makes it special? Well, obviously it’s special to me since I’m writing about it and from the looks of the crowds, it is special to a good number of people in the Denver downtown/metro area. I think what makes Rooster and Moon special is the same thing that makes it such a great success – the staff and the owners. Now, I could rate their coffee, review their food, and go on and on about the atmosphere, but 5280 Magazine and Westword have done a great job at that and I highly recommend you enjoy their reads as well. No, I want to focus on the heart of Rooster and Moon and for that matter, what should really be the heart of any coffee shop. We can call it the study of Ethno-cafe (“ethno” is Greek for people/folk and “cafe”…well, that’s the same in almost every language, so I think you catch my drift.Let me paint the scene for you: Today we have Nate behind the counter along with Dwight. Every so often Nate also juggles the task of carrying out delicious dishes to customers. Bodi is back and forth between working the kitchen in the back and the front counter. And yes, Bodi is his real name. He and his wife Jamie own the place along with another couple, Bird and Stephanie. Bird, on the other hand, is a nickname for Jason. His wife Stephanie is a lawyer and helps with the business aspects of the shop. Tina, who is also the owner of the Fast Geek boutique around the corner, is working the espresso machine and creating great designs with the foam. There’s Emily, who is ringing up people at the cash register when they put in their order. And then we circle back around to Jamie – she’s one of the Barista Queens and I bet she’s invested her sweat, blood, and tears into the RM coffee shop, along with her co-owners. I had originally started describing each person more in depth….but realized we would be here for a long time and I want you to go experience them for yourself. They all exhibit similar qualities though – remembering your name, your favorite drink; sharing stories with you and hearing your own. They’re some of the hardest workers I know, with most of them working at RM as one of their two jobs. I have come to love these people. They’re like family and they’re certainly community. It isn’t like that by accident though. A lot of hard work and commitment has gone into making this place their dream of a community center. They’ve been very intentional about that and its why they’ve been rated one of the best in Denver and why on this particular Saturday morning they’re packed. And on top of all this, they serve the best coffee and food, hands down.
I don’t know about you, but for me there’s something so stimulating about a happy, bustling coffee shop – the warmth and smells of coffee, the noise of the espresso machines blending in with the music overhead, conversations humming lightly in the background – and somehow in the midst of all this, people are able to focus. Well, some of us are able to focus and every now and then I certainly get distracted, but I welcome the breaks. Don’t we all?
So where is your second living room? Where do you know others and they know you, that is outside of your home – your comfortable four walls? They exist for all of us in some way or another. At least I hope you have one that exist for you. It can be the essence of a community.