Walking into the cafe you are greeted by sweet tunes of Pink Floyd's Wish you were here. This perfectly sets the tone for this quaint, eclectic cafe situated strategically in the heart of grad housing in Austin. It's rustic, worn out looks attracts a number of people who visit this cafe regularly to get their last minute assignments done late into the night.
I visited the cafe at 7:30pm, to be greeted by a number of people typing frantically on their laptops either working, studying or relaxing. This is also one of my third places, I see myself visiting this place often and comparing every cafe I come across to Epoch. Don't mistake its unkempt, disheveled look to lack of maintenance from the staff, but its this charm that attracts me to it.
Its silent effort to be environmentally conscious by having steel cutlery instead of plastic and the presence of a sweet looking steel water filter in a corner makes me love this place.
But I wanted to find out why others like this place, why they visit it so often and spend hours sitting in the same place. Let's look at the place through the eyes of the regulars and find this out!
The usual Suspects
Akash (name changed) works as a Senior Machine Learning scientist in Austin. He is a recently graduated doctoral student and if anyone knows anything about graduate education, you know that it involves many a late nights and early mornings and sometimes both. In closeted rooms or labs with a sombre ambience, working late is not a fun activity especially reading PHD papers. Which was why Akash went around looking for a place to relax and work along with fellow night owls of Austin. This was when he discovered Epoch. When asked if this was his third place, he said "Infact, I would call this my second place"
He claims to visit Epoch after dinner with his wife, who also is a graduate student, and stay late into the night. He once sat in the cafe till 6am the next morning! When asked about what his favorite spot is in the cafe, he says "We have a strategy, My wife and I split, searching for a table to share, especially keeping an eye out for someone who has a potential to leave early. She usually does that job, while I wait at the bar. As soon as the other person leaves, I go ahead and join her"
"Infact, I would call this (Epoch) my second house. I only go home to sleep sometimes"
The cafe is also a hub for many teams like the chess club, where you have to earn a spot in. Akash claims that his wife played so well against the founder that she found a spot in this prestigious club. He says small encounters like this with interesting people is also the reason why he likes the place.
As a game designer and writer, Leo's work involves a lot of time in front of screens mostly alone in his room by himself. He is currently writing a book that can go with the game he is designing but hit a creative block and therefore came to the cafe to relax, unwind and get some of that inspiration back. He found this place on his way to Monkey's Nest down the road which was previously HIS cafe.
Some of the reason why he visits epoch is because of the people, coffee and ambience. "People at Epoch are generally more conscientious with regards to others in the cafe.." He goes into a tangent talking about his school in Arizona and how he ended up meeting Doppelgängers of his friends at Epoch. He says "If you wipe the river enough, you ll find your enemy" . He says he likes the way
"People at Epoch are generally more conscientious with regards to others in the cafe."
Speaking about the ambience he feels like he is coming to his grandmothers place because "its weird and old and you immediately start rearranging furniture in your head." He likes sitting up at the front on the big round community tables as the lighting is better and the the energy is always up! It is also a good place to chat up with people. When asked how he approaches people, he says you can tell by the way they vibe and its usually a "You're weird, I am weird, let's chat" kind of a thing where you just know,
It's like coming to your grandmothers house; weird, old and you immediately start rearranging furniture in your head