Chris Graves says he decided to open a coffee shop after 25 years of hanging out in them, all the while taking stock of various details and inconveniences that he would change at his own place. "There were just little things about them that bothered me," he says. "Like, why is the CD player skipping, why is it so cold or so hot, why is the coffee bad, why are the baked goods dry? ... All these little things just drove me nuts."
So Graves, who also owns the local web hosting company MacHighway, set out to one up them all. The result? Bardo Coffee House at 238 South Broadway.
The shop opened earlier on April 2, after months of preparation. It serves Kaladi Brothers coffee, tea and a number tea breads, cookies, savory croissants, "a killer brownie" and other items provided by Buffalo Doughboy and City Bakery; a plan to begin serving sandwiches and breakfast burritos is in the works.
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Graves takes pride in the shop's division into three distinct "environments": the front, "standard," area that has good lighting; a small bank of booths with adjustable lighting as you head to the back of the shop; and, in the back, a "living area" with dim lighting, couches and low-lying tables. (Signs warn you -- not once, but twice -- of the racy wall photographs currently on display in the back, mostly scantily clad, heavily tattooed women in suggestive poses, as possibly unsuitable for children.)
The name "Bardo" is not some bastardized reference to Shakespeare or another poet, but rather a Tibetan word meaning "intermediary space," says Graves. He envisions the shop as a place for people to meet friends, meet new friends, or read quietly during stops on their way from one place to another.
The shop may schedule events in the future, but don't count on your favorite local band getting a gig here. Graves mentionss another coffee-shop pet peeve he refuses to replicate: at a shop he won't name, not only did the musician dislocate him from his spot, but when the music started, the room's occupants all vacated within fifteen minutes.
Bardo is open impressively long hours: Monday - Thursday from 6 a.m. to midnight, and Friday - Saturday from 6 - 4 a.m. For more information, call 303-629-8331.