12 April 2006

SML Coffee

Denver's lastest addition to the coffee scene, open for about a week now, is SML Coffee at 244 Washington Street, which is just South of Speer Boulevard where Speer and Washington (which is one way going South) meet, in a former garage underneath a chiropractor's office (Back Solutions). Its current hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (7 a.m. on weekends).

I tried it this morning. The atmosphere is casual and mellow, but alternative. This is a beat-grunge family room, and the usual selection of coffee drinks (done reasonable well) and a selection of reasonably priced muffins and similar snacks. The barista when I went was a pleasant young man in a black t-shirt and jeans enjoying the barbituate enhanced music between smokes (outside). There was only one other customer while I was there, who arrived on a motorcycle and seemed to be a friend of the barista, but this is to be expected in a brand new business.

While SML is nice enough, its business plan seems a bit fragile. It has ample parking, but the only easy way to get there while driving is on Cherry Creek bound Speer Boulevard, and the part of Washington Street that it is on leads not to workplaces, but to residential neighborhoods. As a result, it gets most of its drive by traffic not during the morning rush hour, which is prime coffee time, but in the evening rush hour, when people are eager to get home to see their families and have dinner. Presumably the target audiences are people heading to work in Cherry Creek in the morning from the West side (for whom the scene is a bit low brow), and residents of the South Speer neighborhood, aka the Byers neighborhood, taking morning walks for whom the image is a good fit. Byers is dense, and has a fair amount of foot traffic, and there isn't any other competition within walking distance, however, so perhaps that will be enough. I can't imagine that either the start up expenses of the relatively bare bones shop, or the rent for the converted space can be that great, so perhaps it will last.

UPDATE: Mile High Buzz also has a review of SML yesterday (which I hadn't seen until after I wrote this one). Apparently they do have Wi-Fi. I was mistaken on that point as I didn't see a sign saying so on the premises.

And, while your mind is on coffee, I'll throw in the Left Off Colfax coffee mantra to help you start you day:

It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion.

It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed.

The hands acquire shaking.

The shaking becomes a warning.

It is by coffee alone I set my mind in motion.

Get your mind moving!

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