I had a long over-due coffee date with my friend Katie yesterday and I decided to leave it up to her to choose the cafe. I’m the type of person who goes to the same cafe every day because it’s next to my house (and has delicious lattes and great customer service) but it’s a chain and I’m a little guilty of not spending more time at locally owned spots. It’s pretty shameful that I have a segment on my blog called “Lisa Tries New Things” and I haven’t been using it to try out and promote local businesses and events, so when Katie picked Jumping Bean on Harvey Road I decided that this is the perfect time and place to start. I packed my book bag, threw on a coat and marched up the hill towards Jumping Bean. I stopped half way there to lean against a row house and breathe as loudly and dramatically as a woman in labour, texted my boyfriend that I need to exercise more, and then arrived at the bright orange building.
As soon as I walked through the door I was met by the song “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes, which made me immediately love the place because that song always conjures up memories of long summer days with my best friend Kate. I just assume the staff are so friendly and caring that they know who is going to walk in the door at a specific time and have their favourite song waiting to welcome them upon arrival. The pressure is on for my next visit! After texting Kate that I missed her, I finally looked up at my surroundings and I was amazed by the transformation. I have been to Jumping Bean on Harvey Road a few times, but not since their new, contemporary renovations. The space is covered in bright, fresh white paint, with some black chalkboard accent walls and several pops of colour from artwork and side tables. The modern design makes you feel like you’ve left St. John’s and you’re sitting in a cafe in New York City. Right away the Art Deco Newfoundland tourism posters created by JUNK (a super cool local clothing/home decor store on Water Street) caught my eye. I absolutely love when there is a white room that uses a dash of colour and I really hope that this decoration style grows on my boyfriend so we can have something similar in our home some day. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve been told that the new design is compliments of SAM Design Inc. and I must say they did a lovely job. It’s a funky yet warm and inviting atmosphere that I would definitely feel comfortable spending hours blogging in.
The great thing about Jumping Bean is that when you order coffee, tea or snacks from them you know you are buying from a local company and you also know you are buying fair-trade. So I not only get to drink my delicious tea, but I get to feel proud of myself for drinking fair-trade tea. Win/win! I ordered a green tea on this particular cafe excursion because I’m trying to limit the amount of lattes and whip cream that enters my body on a weekly basis. The tea was yummy and the customer service was delightful. I poured some honey into my mug and grabbed a table to wait for Katie.
When Katie arrived and ordered her tea (she was pleasantly surprised they had loose tea leaves) we got to work discussing how we felt about the new Jumping Bean renovations (after an hour long conversation about Netflix, animal brooches and how forgiving sheer blouses are for our figures). The first thing Katie commented on was the cool chalkboard walls, which I misheard and thought she said “chocolate walls.” So I will be honest and say that I am disappointed in Jumping Bean for not finding a way to create chocolate walls. That’s one point taken away from them. Then Katie’s attention was drawn to the 4 navy/grey (I might be colour blind) chairs in the centre of the room. She sat in one to test it’s comfort level and decided that it was extremely plush, but restricting for her arms. She then pretended it was a Captain’s chair from Star Trek and turned to me excitedly and shouted “Mr. Sulu!” We both took turns testing out the chairs as if we were chair-testing experts, and we received a few interesting glances from a fellow patron in the process. But it’s like my mom always says, you can’t be too thorough when looking for a good reading spot (she’s never said that).
We both agreed that the new design is very cool, but we were also a little confused by the new lighting fixtures and all of the cords that run from them. While I can see their appeal, I can’t help but look at them and be reminded of my television and entertainment centre at home, crawling with loose black cords that make my room look disorganized no matter how clean it is. So other than the lights making me feel anxiety about cleaning my house, they are interesting and they do fit well with the atmosphere of the cafe. I will be the first person to admit that I don’t get art at all (I did a tour of MoMA in NYC with my sister and whined about how bored I was the whole time I was there), and these lights seem like an art piece. So it’s probably a good sign that I don’t quite “get” them because it means they are a fixture of the cafe that most people will probably like best.
I’m really glad that Katie pushed me to try out a new cafe (or a new twist on an old cafe) because I will definitely be a repeat customer. It’s always nice to find a special spot downtown St. John’s where you can set up your laptop and stay a while without feeling like you’re being rushed out the door. We received nothing but friendly smiles and warm tea, and the new renovations served as a great conversation piece. I just wish the giant picnic table near the window was vacant for us to sit at because I’m a chronic people-watcher.
While leaving the cafe at the end of our afternoon date, Katie turned to me and said “there’s lots of good moonwalking space!” as she awkwardly moon-walked away from me. So there you have it: a great space for getting caffeinated, supporting local, reading your book or blogging, and even moon-walking!
If you like Jumping Bean you should also check out their new location on Duckworth Street. It has a warm atmosphere, same delicious drinks and snacks, some prime people-watching real estate and a very friendly staff (hi Chris!).
- I give Jumping Bean on Harvey Road 8/10. It would have been 9/10 but I can’t forget that penalty for lack of chocolate walls.
- I give Katie 57/10 for being my friend, for always being up for trying new things with me, for her fashion sense and for her ability to make me laugh so hard my sides hurt.
- I give myself 10/10 for trying something new and making a pact to support local on my blog. I’m so adventurous and generous! Way to go me!
If you have any local spots that you want me to try out with a friend and write about on my blog feel free to comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org