Scene: While walking Main Street for the first time as a newbie, I find myself looking for something comfortable—something that has a particular vibe—a place where creatives can hang and where inspiration lives vibrantly. I know at this point in my journey that I will be moving to Greenville and I also know that I want to celebrate everything it has to offer, but I also want to find somewhere where I belong. Today I am on my first explorative mission in downtown. Deep in thought, I clutch my bag closer to me as it begins to sprinkle. The southern humidity intensifies the smell of flowers as the wind picks up. There is a slight chill in the air as the cold front comes in with the impending storm. It is that simple sense of urgency one gets when they hear a small crackle from above that causes me to quickly look for a place to duck into. As I look around, I blink through the rain drops and a small sign catches my attention. Coffee and a place to write? Perfect! This is where it all begins. I had no idea that I—the transplant—would start growing my roots that day as I escaped the rain.
You’ll find that Greenville has many coffee shops downtown. Most of them are trendy, featuring stark color contrasts with metal and concrete elements that create a more modern aesthetic. If you prefer a coffee shop of a different flavor—something more old school—the cleverly named Coffee Underground invites you to walk down the steps on the corner of Coffee Street and Main to an unexpected entrance below. When you arrive you will find an extensive selection of not only drinks of all types but sweet treats and a full menu to satisfy a wide variety of cravings. Want breakfast? They serve it all day. Thinking about pairing some wine with that piece of chocolate cake? They’ve got it. You’ll also notice a mishmash of comfy chairs and couches that create a patchwork collection of welcoming seating amongst exposed brick walls.
There is a lot more to find impressive about this place than the vittles. This is a business that has survived the economic and cultural waxing and waning Greenville has been experiencing for over 20 years. This is a place that represents resilience and a calling to create and maintain the spirit of community. This is a landmark in its own right.
Every week CU hosts comedy and improv shows—in fact, they have the longest running comedy show in Greenville! You can also be part of poetry slams and open mic nights as well. They even have an event once a month in which you can be part of Science on Tap—a forum that encourages discussion about new advancements in technology.
Click here for a complete list of upcoming events: http://www.coffeeunderground.info/events
If you are interested in a more intimate (and fascinating) telling of the origins of Coffee Underground as told by the owner, click here: http://www.coffeeunderground.info/about-cu
I chose Coffee Underground as the subject of my first blog post because it embodies what I want to accomplish and highlight. It is representative of culture, creativity, community and history. You can’t visit CU once and get the full experience. You have to come back again and again to gain a true sense of what it’s indicative of. Its relevance is understated, so you must look closer to really see what is easy to miss. Friendly conversation is genuine and connections are lasting. Its accomplishments precede the shiny newness of most of downtown. I’m not only exploring what is fresh about Greenville as a whole, but what has provided the foundation for the saplings that are bursting forth into this city’s (and its suburbs’) sunny prosperity.
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