Natalia Temesgen

Natalia Naman Temesgen: Columbus rich with coffee house flavor

Columbus, our ever-growing city, may still be lacking in some urban "staples." Independent theaters and film houses come to my mind first. There is one commodity that Columbus has in spades, however: independent coffee houses.

Here are the four that I have visited with regularity, and my observations about them:

1. Fountain City Coffee Company

Opened in 2003, this is the oldest on my list at just over 10 years young. I remember frequenting Fountain City before I was even a coffee-drinker. Why? Because they were and still are good at supporting local artists, musicians and poets alike. I sang and played original music there in my college years. The Fountain City Poetry Slam regularly hosts fantastic youth spoken word events there, and they take the live music to the street outside their doors, bringing the unassuming passersby in on the action.

2. Iron Bank Coffee Company

Down and across the street, this renovated historic bank maintains a hipster glamour and trendy menu. This is where I go to write in a vault. No, seri

ously. The two, tiny backrooms used to be vaulted safes and are great for quiet study or a private meeting. Speaking of meetings, this is where I'm most likely to run into my CSU theater students and fellow professors.

Finally, for the houseplants among us, there is a great deal of natural light here.

3. Midtown Coffee House

Just down 13th Street in Midtown is the newest of these four, having opened their doors in January 2014. So far, Midtown has been a bastion of "servant leadership" with their tight-knit staff and pampering nature. They bring your hot drink on a silver tray, surrounded by sugar, spoon, and a serving of milk. Like Iron Bank, they have a few private areas in the back for both large meetings and quiet study. I have enjoyed many productive early mornings here before heading to work.

4. Bitter Brick

This slice of the big city makes its home in The Landings. All I needed to walk in the door was a look at their tagline, "cocoa, coffee & wine retreat." Having sampled from all three of their specialties, I feel they've got a strong handle on each of them. This is where I go to relax or write in the later part of the day, because the option of a hot drink or a glass of wine is a lovely one in the evening. The salted dark chocolate is more of a compulsion than an option.

We hear about supporting local businesses around the holidays, but I challenge you to give these spots a try for a lunch or informal meeting. Starbucks may be your habit, but you would be impressed to see just what Columbus has birthed in that arena.

What are your favorite local establishments? What are some that you wish we had?

If anyone yearns for more outlets for local art or community creativity, do write me. The conversation is under way and your voice is needed.

-- Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent correspondent. Contact her at or on Twitter @cafeaulazy.