Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Coffee bar, emphasis on bar

As a rule, I don't drink coffee, and I certainly don't drink coffee after 8 p.m. Luckily, the Great Lakes Coffee Brewing Company--which opened at its Midtown location earlier this summer--serves more than one kind of adult beverage. I had some kind of Michigan red sour ale, and it was much better than coffee.

It's a beautiful space: open but warm, comfortable but engaging. The crowd was largely students and the music was a little louder than I would normally like for reading and writing and talking low with your companions, though I guess it depends on how engrossing your companions are. Mine were sufficiently so I only noticed the music when we left. The drinks are a little pricey, but the bathrooms are impeccable. If there were a bathroom-cleanliness to drink-price ratio scale, where a higher numerator denotes a cleaner bathroom and a higher denominator denotes a more expensive drink, I would give this place a 1, the optimal equilibrium. The bathrooms are as clean as their drinks are expensive. (The 8 Ball is also a 1.)

One of my companions mentioned with disdain that Midtown is starting to look like Ann Arbor.


  1. The coffee is good! Also the patio is lovely and has a real European feel with woven seat chairs facing out to the street.

  2. I was only sufficiently engrossing?! Now I'm sufficiently insulted. Also, "with disdain" was appropriate.

    Wouldn't an optimal equilibrium be low drink prices AND clean bathrooms? Is that even an equilibrium? Aren't prices and cleanliness independent variables? If we were to plot cleanliness on the x-axis and drink prices on the y-axis, the optimal would be in the lower-right corner. No? Are we assuming that low drink prices always mean dirty bathrooms and vice versa? No, that couldn't be right, because if so then there would be no need for the ratio system at all. One could simply look at the drink menu to predict bathroom cleanliness. Perhaps we can also draw causal arrows. For example, if I trash a bathroom, then the drink prices should go down.

    Reading over this I think I understand why I was only sufficiently engrossing.

  3. "Optimal," I guess, from an overall economic standpoint. If the drinks are expensive and the bathroom is dirty, I am being overcharged (<1); if the drinks are cheap but the bathroom is very nice and clean, the restaurant is providing a positive externality, which may benefit me but is inefficient, or they're skimping on paying the cleaning lady or something (>1). Either way, I'm not comfortable.