Photo: sean oliver, Flickr
Owner Beth Scribner's atmospheric little shop is quickly and quietly carving out a niche in the Seattle corporate-dominated coffee culture. Barely two years-old, her Aster Coffee Lounge is using a house blend of quality and quirkiness to set itself apart from the other area indie darlings as well as that ubiquitous green monster.
More from Aster Coffee Lounge owner, Beth Scribner, after the jump.
"Everyone knows about Seattle coffee. The scene here probably isn't as cutting edge as in New York or Portland, but we still have lots of people who know what they're doing working to make good stuff. I worked in the industry as a manager for ten years before opening Aster in 2008, so I know the ins and outs of the business. A very small percentage of coffee makers focus on quality; That's what I want to do. I want highly-trained, knowledgeable baristas serving the best quality coffee. That's how we're going to succeed.
We set ourselves apart in other ways, too. We have a killer wine list that has been curated around the concept of 'affordable quality', as well as some of the region's best seasonal beers (a local favorite is Maritime Pacific) both on tap and in bottles. Then there are the events...
About once a month, we host an Art Walk featuring the work of a local artist. We also have 'Bizzaro Movie Nights', where we give out free popcorn and screen some of our favorite B-movies. And there's live music sometimes. This summer, we're planning to screen live World Cup games. And there are rumors of a Wii bowling league.
Another way we differentiate ourselves is by using our secret weapon: the Clover Coffee Brewer. It's the best there is, and it's now exclusive to Starbucks. Fortunately, we were able to get our hands on one right before they snatched them all up. We're one of only two independents in the Seattle area with a Clover.
We have a nice atmosphere here in our lounge space. A variety of characters come in to work on their laptops, read the paper or just relax with a good cup of coffee or a glass of wine. It's becoming a neighborhood gathering place, which is great. Last January, we hosted an inauguration party for President Obama, complete with celebratory red, white and blue waffles. We were packed, and it got pretty raucous. When Obama started speaking, though, you could hear a pin drop. It was a great moment, and the most memorable one of my career. I hope there are many more like it."