The Prophouse Cafe: A terrific “third place”.Posted by Mark Busse on Sunday, November 14th, 2010
Tags for this Article: cafe, coffee, prophouse, review, third place, vancouver
Starbucks may be the company that has most famously incorporated the concept of the “third place“—a place that anchors community outside of home (first place) or work (second place)—into their strategy, but Starbucks is too formulaic and American (to me) to serve as a substitution for my living room. I think I might have a little bit of hippie in me.
In sharp contrast, when I first walked into The Prophouse Cafe, I immediately felt at home. The huge space is literally filled to the rafters with samples of kitschy curio, with quirky antiques and memorabilia providing endless things to look at while you sip on your latte.
And speaking of coffee—this is a neighbourhood café after all—no matter how comfortable or interesting a room, if the java or service suck, I won’t be back. But I was pleased with rich taste and crema of my Americano, made with Oso Negro coffee (roasted in Nelson, BC) and a sexy shiny brass vintage Italian espresso machine. And the homemade baked treats were as delicious as the servers were friendly and helpful.
Considering I live mere blocks from this café, I was curious why I hadn’t heard anything about it. I was told by the friendly servers Rakel and Nellie that the owner Ross had only opened the coffee shop as an extension to his antique/prop business less than a year ago and marketing efforts had been essentially relegated to word of mouth thus far. They don’t even have a Facebook page or Twitter account. Old school! I love it.
With excellent coffee, friendly service, tasty food, good prices, frequent live music, local community support and a fun, original ambiance akin to a giant version of your crazy grandma’s living room, The Prophouse Café is likely going to be one of my favourite “third place” hangouts. If you have a little bit of hippie in you too, I encourage you to check it out—ping me and I’ll meet you there.
Here’s a short video of owner Ross Judge giving a brief tour of the café, although I recommend you check it out for yourself.
The Prophouse Café
1636 Venables Ave. (@ Commercial Drive)