|Columbus's vigorous coffee scene has headed west in recent months|
down Broad Street, one of the city's historically main thoroughfares
Of course, the places to grab a lovely cup of java around here tend to be concentrated in select neighborhoods, with the Short North, German Village, and Downtown being prime hot spots. But I personally like to the opportunity for a good cup of joe filter out to lesser served parts of the metro, as I found out headed toward parts west on Broad Street during recent travels.
The side (and, for that matter, the name) of Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op details a seminal part of Franklinton history. Established in 1797, the oldest settlement in the metro area eventually was dubbed with the derisive nickname "The Bottoms" due to the area's tendency to flood when the nearby Scioto River jumped its banks.
Perhaps the most devastating of those floods took place 105 years ago in March 1913, when the Great Ohio Flood rendered the Franklinton area all but abandoned. It wasn't until the completion of a permanent flood wall (which took over a decade to construct) in 2004 when the neighborhood was truly able to embark on a comeback which continues through today.
When one wanders inside the cafe (be sure to glance up at the cafe's name at the entrance, which is cleverly tiled upside down), a binder off to the side contains the photo off which the mural was based.
Opened up in 2016 by sisters Virginia Nunes Gutierrez and Victoria Calderón Nunes, Bottoms Up provides a lot of punch with a simple business model. First and foremost, close to three-fourths of the space is dedicated as a workers co-op, with daily, hourly and monthly options for various office space configurations available to the public.
The other one-fourth or so is dedicated to the cafe, where you can have a barista whip you up a variety of espresso-based and drip coffee concoctions. Similar to the co-op, a coffee subscription is available that will get you a set amount of coffee, a variety of discounts, and other business-related opportunities.
However, you don't need to be a subscriber to enjoy Bottom Up's creations, including specialty items like the Canary Island (a condensed milk/espresso blend which is tasty but geared more for those with a sweet tooth) and very lovely Cortado, my spouse's normal get here. The cafe usually has a small assortment of baked goods and empanadas available to sate your hunger pangs; the latter especially makes for a lovely pairing option with your drinks.
Last and perhaps most importantly, the owners of Bottoms Up are using their business as a way to tackle a variety of social ills, with a particular focus on infant mortality and ten percent of their profits going to this and other community causes. Evidence of this resides on the chalkboard, where a running tally of money that has gone into the Diaper Gap Fund (money used to purchase diapers for mothers in need) resides prominently along with the various coffee menu items.
Farther down Broad Street in ensconced near the Westgate and Hilltop neighborhoods, Third Way Cafe adds a caffeine jolt to the Westgate Businessworks entrepreneurial space, providing a much welcome business boost to the area along with shops like Gypsy Soul Antiques and Clay Street Ceramics.
Third Way Cafe mirrors a few aspects as its fellow coffee purveyor Bottoms Up in its relationship with neighbors and local entities. The cafe both partners with and supports various community organizations such as Aunt Flo, The Westgate Neighbors Association, and The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio; also, the space offers up a conference room for rent by area groups and organizations. This room, which includes fresh brewed coffee, was buzzing with activity on the day of my visit.
Third Way offers a unique model to fund its existence - the occasional visitor can put in $2 for bottomless coffee (three hotpots of various coffees are available as well as the usual coffee additions like sugar and creamer. Once your cup is filled, one can settle in quite easily at a hodgepodge of seating options and enjoy the plethora of reading materials available. I spent about an hour or perched nice and comfy on my corner seat, but could've easily hung out longer if I had chosen.
Those who live in closer proximity to the cafe would be better served with a Neighbor Pass ($20 for unlimited visits during any one month) or an annual membership for $200.
If books and music are more your bag, shelves of used books or one of the cafe's vinyl albums on their in-house stereo system (on this day, classical music was the order of the day) are available for your entertainment. Both the books and the albums are available for purchase at $5 each. Art lovers are also in luck here, as various local artists active in the area's annual Summer Jam West Festival have their artworks prominently displayed and available for sale.
Aside from the gathering place, Third Way offers area residents a very convenient place to grab bags of many of Columbus's best coffee purveyors, with bags of beans from Florin, One Line, Luck Brothers, Roaming Goat and Owl's Knot available for purchase.
With regular game nights, financial seminars, music concerts and other community-oriented events already scheduled out, the relatively young Third Way Cafe (its soft opening was in late December 2017) appears well on its way to establishing itself as a community anchor and gathering place well into the foreseeable future.
Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op
1069 W. Broad St. (Franklinton - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43222
Third Way Cafe
3058 W. Broad St. (Westgate/Hilltop - Google Maps)
Columbus, OH 43204