My Favorite Places: Red Hook Coffee and Cups & Chairs Cafe

In a January 29th article for Yahoo Finance, Nicole Goodkind writes, “it pays to live near a Starbucks.” She goes on to say that Zillow found “through analysis of their data […] that in 1997 a home within 1/4 mile of a Starbucks sold on average for $137,000 while a home not near a Starbucks sold on average for $102,000. Today the average home has gone up 65% in value to $168,000 but homes near Starbucks have gone up 96% to $269,000.” And it appears to be a Starbucks thing because “to make sure this wasn’t just a generic coffee shop effect, Zillow also analyzed properties that were within a quarter mile of a Dunkin Donuts (DNKN). Homes nearby appreciated 80% over the same period– a large increase but far cry from Starbucks’ 96%.”

When we were looking for our house in Philadelphia in 2007, proximity to a Starbucks was not among our requirements. Strangely enough, neither was a garage, which we somewhat regret. Our requirements did include two bedrooms, a fireplace, and to be something that George Washington might have walked by one day. We didn’t quite meet the George Washington requirement but we are within 1/4 mile of a Starbucks and this seems to be a good thing according to Zillow.

I think the fact that our public school is one of the best in Philadelphia, thus drawing lots of families to the neighborhood might have more to do with the property values going up than the Starbucks. Families are the backbone of any city; the roots. Take care of the families and your city will thrive. But I digress…

When we were viewing potential properties, we did not go to Starbucks but instead to the little coffee cafe down the block. It was a cool and clear November day and we had already looked at a few homes, none really being the right one and a few definitely being the wrong one. We decided to make a pit stop at Red Hook Coffee to refuel. The interior reminded me of a coffee shop in Park Slope Brooklyn, the same exposed brick wall and comfy second-hand, already broken-in furniture, along with local artists’ work hanging on the walls. When I mentioned this to my husband, along with a comment about the name being Red Hook, which is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, the owner (at the time) said it was because that was his former coffee shop in Park Slope. So we asked what it was like to move from Brooklyn to Philly and he said for him, it had been pretty good. Today, owners Chloe and Kelsey will welcome you with open arms and tasty treats.

Red Hook Cafe in Philadelphia
Red Hook Cafe keeps a charming herb garden along their cafe. Photo is from their Facebook page.

We continued on our crusade for our house and would find it right down the street from Red Hook. You can visit Red Hook too via their Facebook page –

A few years later, Cups & Chairs Cafe opened their doors and provided a much needed access point for bubble tea, just a couple of blocks away.  If I forget my keys and need a nice place to wait until Frank gets home, Cups & Chairs is perfect. They make this pineapple kale smoothie that is unbelievable and have a bewildering variety of tea. It’s also my go-to place for Tweed Ride planning meetings, or anytime I need a warm, welcoming place that has room for more people than our living room does. They have a Facebook page as well –

Cups & Chairs Cafe in Philadelphia.
Cups & Chairs has an extensive variety of tea, including black, green, herbal, and exotic teas.

Both places host local art shows and musician performances and are really much more than a place to grab a cup of coffee. Coffee cafes are really the new town square, the places where people run into each other and stop to chat for a minute or two. Or perhaps, just a different place to be when the walls of your home are too familiar; a place where the piles of laundry needing to be folded or the dirty dishes that need washing can’t taunt you.


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