Why Common Grounds was so attractive to us when we were in college:
"At the height of their popularity, the coffeehouses of 19th-century Vienna, Warsaw, or Budapest were famously frequented by people who didn't live in particularly lush apartments and therefore preferred to spend their time in rooms decorated like the salons of the upper classes. Hence the association of coffeehouses with poets, literati, revolutionaries, and other assorted riffraff. Hence the attraction for students today."--Anne Appalbaum (read more here)
There was a sort of allure about that coffeehouse when we first started going. It began with the directions: "Get lost, and when you see Kinko's, you'll know it's nearby." Then it continued with the wonderful coffee and the cozy atmosphere, and the loads of artsy students from the huge university in town (quite different from our tiny hamlet outside the city). And I met my husband there.
The mystique didn't last: it became as comfortable as a pair of sneakers.