Bond feels very clean. My (Elizabeth's) first impression was one of a big-city coffee shop. I don't know why. It's industrial, but like, fancy industrial (that is the technical decorating term). There are several four-top wood tables, a few two-tops, and a seating area in front of a fireless fireplace topped with a TV. It's a smaller shop, which makes for a cozy feel despite the concrete floors and somewhat stark walls. The decor is decidedly London, of which we were quite fond. Along with the theme, some of the menu items include "Strawberry Fields" (Strawberry, Irish Cream, White Chocolate Latte), and the 007 Club Sandwich. Plus they carry "Haulin' Oats" oatmeal, which is just all around a good call.
The shop was calm and quiet--almost a little too quiet at first--but eventually the music was turned on. It was primarily banjo-heavy folk music, which we felt was a real missed opportunity, (Bond theme on repeat, anyone? Adele?) but we enjoyed the mellow choice of Mumford just the same.
The baristas are very friendly. When Elizabeth came in, they were having a conversation with a patron as if they were friends. She later learned they were not (it's not eavesdropping if it is happening right in front of you, okay?). A little later, they gave detailed directions to places of interest all around the area ("Well, it's right next to Jack White's studio..." #WeAreNashville). Further evidence of the baristas care and concern was a hand-written note at the register letting everyone know that Jill is moving to France soon, so please stop by and wish her well.
The tip jar made tipping seem more fun by encouraging you to use your tip as a vote. This evening's proposition: Who would win in a fight: Donald Duck or Daffy Duck?
(Our money is on Donald. He has an attitude and anger management issues. Plus, you'd have to be pretty scrappy to walk around with a shirt and hat but no pants.)
They also had a post-it with the wifi password clearly displayed at the register, which we appreciated, because sometimes you have to ask for it and you feel like a lame-o who can't just enjoy their coffee and talk to the person you're with but must check their Twitter feed incessantly (when really you're just a blogger who has very important things to write).
Also appreciated were the small nods to pop culture (and pretty decent drawing skills) on the chalkboards:
[If you look closely you will notice a meme-tastic "ermahgerd lahtters" behind the cookies.]
E: I had the chai, per usual. I was told, "good choice" by the barista. It was a good choice. I chose soy milk and it was creamy and delicious.
Chai Taste Rating: 9
I want to come back and try the hot chocolate. They have what they call the Domino, which is black and white hot chocolate. I feel this is a missed opportunity by Bond; it should be called The Tuxedo. Because Bond, James Bond.*
L: Vanilla latte again, but they were out of regular vanilla syrup, so I opted for caramel rather than forego the sugar. It's not the same, you guys.
Latte Taste Rating: I'd give this one about an 8. It wasn't the best ever but definitely in "good" territory.
Latte Art Grade: An almost-8 that melted into a 3. Our sweet barista was concentrating so hard and I had such faith, but then he presented it to me with an apology saying that he had a really good leaf going and then gravity got the best of him and the rest just plopped in. And well, this happened. The fact that he even knew it was supposed to look like a leaf gets him points in this business.
Even the coffee sleeves are regal here, in keeping with the fancy England theme. Just look at the logo:
The service was great at Bond. The baristas were super nice and laid back, even amid catastrophes like being out of vanilla syrup and failed foam leaves.
We're not sure where to put this, categorically, but it should be noted that almost everyone else that came into the coffee shop wore black. We don't know what's going on there, but we're pretty sure it has to do with that London Fog.* Isn't that how Jack the Ripper got away with murder? We need Benedict Cumberbatch here stat to solve this mystery for us. In case you're wondering, we are trying to make as many British pop-culture references as possible (Downton, Doctor Who, Abbey Road, Wills and Kate.).
Fedora count: Zero. Can you believe this? So disappointing. But this is The Gulch, where sophisticated young professionals eat overpriced mexican food and don't need to hide their bedhead because they didn't sleep until noon and only write a song today. So we weren't altogether shocked.
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 3. There was a stern-looking man standing by the entrance dressed in a black suit, wearing earbuds and holding his hands clasped in front of him, staring straight ahead. We were both confused as to why he was there. Was he going to hold the door open for us? Was he secret service? Is this part of the Bond theme? But no, he was just on the phone (apparently in the middle of a very serious conversation). Hence the 3. Otherwise it would be a 1, because this place is pretty cozy and non-judgey.
Price: Average for a double latte--around $4. The Chai was around $3. Totally doable.
Parking: Parking is easily accessible if you know where to look. The Icon building (where Bond is located) has a garage around the corner for $2/hr, and there are several lots nearby. There are warnings in the garage about permit parking and all the spots are numbered, which made us a bit nervous, but it didn't seem to be a problem.
*Okay, upon further research, I realize Domino is a Bond girl. Apparently, all their drink specialties are named after Bond girls except London Fog (Earl Grey Tea with Steamed Milk). What's with that, Bond? My proposal is that we rename London Fog, Mary Goodnight. I say that having only seen one James Bond movie in my life. But that seems like a good name for hot chocolate, right?
Have you been to Bond yet? Have you seen any or all of the James Bond movies? What is your suggestion for the renaming of the London Fog?