GRAZING: Drip — ‘a coffee shop around the corner’
Leaving Starbucks for a barista named Sylvester
I’m one of those people who knows every trick in the book to avoid writing. Contrary to what less skilled procrastinators assume, writing at home does not enhance focus for many of us. I read nap time stories to the cats, check out midget pornography, and eat sugar. When I was a contract writer for the AJC Sunday Magazine in the early ‘80s, my editor twice sent a delivery person to sit outside my door for hours while I furiously typed.
Over 20 years ago, I discovered that what seemed creepy to me — writing in coffee shops — was a huge help. You show up, as you would at an office, you write, and you take breaks by chatting with others. The Ansley Starbucks became my office and LA Fitness, next door, provided brain-clearing exercise. I wrote most of my doctoral dissertation there! Then the pandemic struck and imprisoned all of us at home. Being anti-social, I kind of enjoyed it, but my cat whispering and midget porn viewing exploded. Birthdays and lack of exercise propelled me into decrepitude.
The pandemic has dissipated enough that it’s now safe to return to coffee houses and gyms. I expected, with Starbucks’ reopening, that I’d return to Ansley, but it now seems like a long drive from Grant Park. So I went in search of a new coffee shop close to home or, more pointedly, close to Snap Fitness in Glenwood Park, which I joined. Snap’s lack of a locker room and sauna ensures that the clientele is mainly heterosexual, but that’s okay.
So, I’ve been doing much of my writing at Drip, a coffeeshop around the corner from Snap. Its location is actually on a strangely idyllic plaza of sorts. The street is treelined and shady. You see practically no traffic, just pedestrians eating outside Vickery’s or inside PhoCue or strolling by with gigantic ice cream cones from Jeni’s. It’s eerily quiet.
I have always assumed Drip was small. On the contrary, it’s quite roomy with big windows lined with tables for two and power plugs for laptops. The largest area also includes upholstered seating for conversation or using your laptop’s battery. The staff here is amiable overall, but my favorite, despite his extreme laziness, is Sylvester, a tuxedo cat who sleeps in a chair and accepts petting while unconscious. He belongs to someone in the neighborhood and comes and goes when he pleases.
Drip’s coffee and espresso are from Dancing Goats/Batdorf & Bronson. Espresso is all I drink and Drip’s baristas are quite skillful. My go-to drink everywhere has long been a triple macchiato — three shots of espresso with a splash of steamed milk or foam. Drip does better than most. My other favorite espresso drink is the cortado. I started drinking these during frequent trips to Spain over 20 years ago. A cortado is simply two ounces of espresso combined with two ounces of steamed milk. The milk is not foamy or otherwise texturized, so the effect is completely silky. Drip’s presentation took me by surprise the first time I ordered one there. It was served in a porcelain cup. I don’t think I’d ever before drunk one that wasn’t in a glass. I asked someone behind the counter about this and she told me pretty curtly that the measurements were the same, so what did it matter? She’s right…I guess.
I also like the inexpensive food here a lot. It’s all house-made. There are breakfast sandwiches made with eggs and the meat, cheese, and condiments of your choice. There’s quiche which I’ve yet to eat and lunch sandwiches like ham and gouda, plus especially good chicken salad. The owner also prepares raw “sliders” with changing ingredientst. They are super-cheap, which is good, because I usually end up wanting two…or three. There are salads and pastries, like delicious hummingbird bread sadly but healthfully absent cream cheese frosting. Sometimes I skip the second cup of coffee and go for my favorite fruit juice ever, the pineapple-apple-ginger from Arden’s Garden. I used to swill the stuff by the gallon. I also like the Hotshot, which has the pineapple and ginger but with cranberries and lemons.
The vibe at Drip is upbeat (but with unintrusive music) and the clientele is young. Actually, at this point in my life, the only people older than me are in the cemetery. One day, a woman walked in carrying a baby and a book bag illustrated with a portrait of Joan Didion, an author I have for many years used to “unblock” me when I can’t find the “right” words. I have no real idea why — it’s probably a voodoo placebo — but the White Album is especially effective in flushing the sewage out of my mind. The woman turned out to have grown up next door to Didion’s family in California. At some point in this conversation, while I babbled about Didion’s work, I felt like I was sitting on a bench with a blanket on my lap while a hospice worker patted my hand. This woman seemed very interested….or was she humoring me? I met up with a friend there and told him the story. He told me to shut up. I looked for Sylvester. My friend said the coffee was great. It really is. —CL—
Drip, 928 Garrett St., 404-627-7375, dripatlanta.com. IG: @dripatl