11:15 am SHOCKOE ESPRESSO 104 Shockoe Slip, RVA 23219 millmountaincoffee.com / richmond
On the first snowy day of the season, along the cobblestone streets of Shockoe Slip, in the shadow of the advertising behemoth the Martin Agency, there’s a coffee shop where a good chunk of Richmond’s creative community gets their morning / afternoon cup-a-joe. Shockoe Espresso is in a great location for those who want to take the time to stroll the Canal Walk and the Bottom itself. While living downtown on on the corner of 21st & Broad, I spent a lot of time here hanging out. The brick and wood lined “J” shaped interior gave the place a warm and welcoming appeal.
Because its placement in close proximity to the state capital and office buildings of national & international corporations, it has a diverse clientele. From the suit and tie shrouded business types, to nurses and doctors from MCV and the jean and t-shirt wearing artist and students, having meetings and web working seems to be the order of the day here. For some reason, it also seems to be a popular spot for bike messengers as well.
There’s seating-a-plenty along the walls and at the bar. With the large coffee roaster at the front of the building and the wall-o-beans behind the counter, you can tell this place means business when it comes to your cup. And if you’re seeking some additional flavor, they have a vast array of choices on the top of the vintage looking glass front, coffee bean dispensers.
I’ve always found Shockoe Espresso to be a place where I can draw and create design easily. Maybe the creative brain power that frequents the shop has something to do with it, or I could be the warmth of the interior that makes it work. Whatever it is, Shockoe Espresso is a great destination for coffee and conversation.
with that said, on to the specs…
the place – what’s around?
It resides in the shadow of the massive Martin Agency building and a parking deck. The view from the windows on the side of the room aren’t that impressive, but if you take your cup out front, the view is much better. You can spend an entire day down here and not have to move the car from the ( before mentioned ) deck. You have restaurants, highend clothing stores, antique shops, furniture stores, the Canal Walk, the farmers market and if you get tired of the walking tour you can rent & ride a Segway from Segway of Richmond located on the corner from the shop.
parking – parking lot or “fan” like?
Street, lot and deck parking- most of the street parking is 2 hours metered and un-metered ( pay attention to the signs, there’s a lot of loading zones that’ll earn you a ticket during week days, if you not careful). A few parking lots down the street may do the trick and the huge deck next door might work as well.
coffee- good, bad or mugly?
Its ok, the cup of MILL MOUNTAIN CAPITAL I had was a little on the soft side with not as much robust flavor I would have liked. It got better when I was munching on the homemade choco-chip cookie while taking sips, although they might want to back the salt content down on the cookie. The salt tends to fight with sweet of the chocolate, and with every bite, it seems to be winning. The free refill was nice and hot, so I’m guessing the pump was freshened recently.
menu- bunch or linner?
You’ll find sandwiches, paninis and wraps, I recently had a chicken salad sandwich that went way beyond my expectations, so there will be a sandwich review sometime soon….stay tuned.
art – rotating or fixture?
Rotating…slowly- this month they have the same work they’ve had for the past few months. Work has hung here for over a year before and after a while you begin to wonder if the artist misses his creations. The large paintings that are up now take up the space pretty well, so the rule of the day must be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
music- overbearing or background?
Background- the music here is always different when visiting. Today they have a mixture of Motown hits playing thru the system loud enough to make your foot tap, but keeping conversation at a normal level is easy to maintain.
baristas- friend or foe?
Friend- they are easy to talk to and they’ll get you what you need, whether be coffee in a mug, a sandwich or a dessert from the glass front display you see as you walk in.
noticeable regulars – “cheers” or who are these people?
Cheers?- it seems most of the regulars come in with a bike messenger bag in their hand. There’s some folks sitting at the bar, hanging out and talking easily with the employees behind the counter. Honestly, it feels like it’ll be easy to become a regular here.
hi-fi – wi-not or wi-bother?
free wi-fi- so a lunch meeting wouldn’t have to be hindered by having to web-work thru the iPhone or Black Berry….so, pull out the laptop and get to it.
seating & meeting – ample or not enough
ample- with more than 10 rectangular 4-person tables, you can almost always find a place to sit. On much warmer days there’s the tables outside where you can enjoy the fountain and the scenery while having lunch. Leather bound sofas and chairs are in the back corner if reading the paper is all you’re looking to do and the long bar host stools to perch on to so you can hold conversations with the baristas, do some work or gaze at the “wall-o-bean”.
workspace – second office or read the paper?
second office- sockets are located almost anywhere you’d want to sit. The size of the tables would allow you to use your computer plus spread out whatever paper work or book you may need at hand.
clean or not so much
clean and comfortable….wow, there’s a lot of wood in this place!
If you find yourself out of the office and in the Slip looking to do some work on the laptop, Shockoe Espresso is a very accommodating coffee shop. And after you finish staring at the computer, unplug yourself and enjoy a walk in any direction. You’ll be glad you did.
Thanx for viewing.