Photo by Seth Combs


    It might be a bit of a dubious honor to be labeled "best pretentious coffeehouse," but let's face it, when it comes to coffee, pretense is something of a necessity. It really just depends on what kind of pretentious coffee snob you are. That being said, Holsem (oh, what a clever play on words) Coffee (2911 University Ave.) is something out of an obscure indie French film. From its marble counter tops, wooden tables and indie-affluent vibe, to its meticulously curated selection of pastries and craft beers, it's like Holsem went out of its way to only attract super-cereal Communications students and Farmer's Market musicians. Holsem sells bags of its fair-trade "coffee evolved" next to $7 packs of organic granola, all of which are nestled nicely atop uber-rustic wooden shelves. And why the hell would I ever think to buy a glass cactus orb at a coffeeshop? I mean, I guess it's good to know they're there if I ever need one. The staff is friendly enough and yes, you'll likely get a foamy heart in your oh-so-healthy Green Tea Latte or La Vie en Rose Cappuccino (it's infused with rosewater and sprinkled with rose pedals, because why the fuck not?) so yeah, there's that.

    Photo by Seth Combs


    Oh, so you're the dark horse, huh? As if the coffee game was just about to collapse and the public was vying for something, anything, new to help them out of their decaffeinated malaise. But not-so-seriously though, Dark Horse (3260 Adams Ave.) is a more punk-rock alternative to Holsem's, well, wholesomeness. From the staff that looks as if they're all auditioning to be an extra on Girls, to the nostalgically ironic line of merchandise (mugs that repurpose the Seinfeld logo and Descendents' album covers), Dark Horse is the coffeehouse equivalent of the popular girl in high school who suddenly shows up with pink hair and gothy leggings. It's like, we know you're just trying to be different for the sake of being different. A great example of this is the craft vegan "skinny donuts" that are about the size of a large walnut. Just give me a whole freakin' donut! Not some bite-size, butter-free nibble that even a cop might look at suspiciously. The shop's line of coffee comes in these artful little bags and the coffee itself is bold and flavorful. I recommend the Cold Brew on Nitro if you don't have to sleep for a few days or just want to get jacked up for a Less Than Jake concert.



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