Pssst - if you want to write a guest post for us, let us know! We're always looking for out-of-town reviews or anything coffee (or tea)-related, really. Email us here if you are interested! Hendershot's Coffee Bar* is located in a cute neighborhood on Prince Ave. in Athens, Georgia--a town known for its artsy vibe and fun restaurant/entertainment scene. Oh, and the University of Georgia lives there, too. As several of my good friends attended UGA and live or have lived in Athens, I have visited a handful of times, and it is delightful. This time, I (Laura) was there to attend a wedding, and one of the aforementioned good friends recommended Hendershot's to review. You don't have to ask me twice.
When I walked in, I immediately knew why she sent me there. It's the quintessential hip coffee shop. Exposed brick and duct work, concrete textured floors, judgey twenty-somethings--I mean really, what more could you ask for?
We entered through the back, and because we were dressed up for the wedding (or maybe just because we just looked uncool in general), we did get a few stares when we walked in. One fellow wearing a multicolored fleece beanie gave me a very pronounced stink-eye, to the point where I almost laughed out loud.
There are several wooden tables with a hodge-podge of chairs, bar seating along the wall, and a section with cozier easy chairs and a couch. This section is marked off by a metal fence made to look like caution tape around the top. I think it's where the VIPs sit. I wouldn't know. I took one look over there and steered clear because I felt awkward.
Hendershot's also has an alcohol bar, so there are seats along the real bar as well as what we refer to as "fishbowl"-type bar seating as well.
They of course have quirky decor, including a Colt 45 sign that says "Billie D. Williams approved," black and white photos of musicians, and an actual bicycle on top of the back of the bar.
The crowd, as I alluded to earlier, was made up of mostly twenty-somethings, mostly judgey. I'm serious. I know we talk about this in Nashville shops, but it was nothing compared to this place. To write these posts, I have to look around a lot. I have to examine the decor, look for fedoras, take pictures and try not to look like a complete weirdo. This requires a lot of turning around and glancing, especially when my partner in crime is not there. Every time I looked behind me, I met someone's eyes. Every. Single. Time. I don't know if they were just tired of studying, or no one ever looks up from their coffee at this place, but it was like side-eye central over there.
scientific peer-reviewed theory on the matter (based on WILD generalizations): in Nashville, everyone is cool. Well, okay, not everyone. But there is a certain median coolness and hipster style that oozes out of the corners of coffee shops and music venues. It's part of the culture. In Athens, though there is a cool-kid culture, it sits in the midst of preppy SEC college students and people who decided to live in a college town in Georgia. As a result, the cool kids in Athens are very AWARE that they're cool, comparatively, which makes them a little more outwardly judgey toward outsiders. Nashville cool kids just live in their own cool kid universe and are just more silently judgey. That's my theory. Go ahead and put that in your textbooks, people who study coffee shop culture. (?)
Despite this, I noted that behind me there was a stage for performances, which is a nice touch to any shop. It doubles as a full-on venue. I know this because of the poster I saw in the bathroom stall. We do hard-hitting investigations around here.
I ordered a double vanilla latte. It was a little sweet, but overall, good.
Latte taste rating: 7
They also sell treats like truffles which I am totally going to get next time I go.
Potential truffle taste rating: 100
Also, Elizabeth would be happy to know they have a decent sized tea selection listed on the wall: organic Earl Gray, green, jade, jasmine, white peach blossom, herbal, and more that I couldn't write down because I had been staring at that wall for a while.
The latte art was pretty good, but not amazing. I even remembered not to ask for skim milk, guys.
Latte art rating: 6
The service at Hendershot's was really nice, with a side of "you're not from around here, are you?" That second part was more just implied when we took a few seconds to order.
The baristas were definitely cool, because I overheard a girl talking to one of them (who acted kind of uninterested, of course) asking if he was working in L.A., and encouraging him with phrases like "you do you." And he was. He was doing him.
Sorry for the shaky camera work. I was trying to be stealth. The fleece beanie guy was right beside me.
Level of uncomfortableness walking in: 8. More the patrons than the shop itself (nothing complicated about the ordering situation). See aforementioned stink eye. Otherwise it is a cozy place.
Oversized Headphones Count: 2
Level of pretentiousness: 8, due to the theory I detailed earlier. I think the distance is just greater between the "haves" and the "have nots" in terms of coolness here.
Parking: 5. We parked behind the shop in a lot for Bottleworks, which we think applied to the whole strip of buildings. In that case I'd give it an 8 or 9. But we were unsure if we actually parked in the right place, and if that lot didn't count you would probably have to park on the street or something, which makes it more difficult to find a place.
Price: Average. I paid about $4 for a double vanilla latte.
Fedora Count: 0 (Ugh.)
Beanie Count: 4
Disheveled Facial Hair Count: 5
Not-Chris-Daughtry Count: 1 (HE LOOKED JUST LIKE HIM.)
Overall, though I felt laughably judged, I would love to go back to Hendershot's. It's in a fun neighborhood, had good coffee and great people-watching. Next time I will wear cooler clothes, though.
*One might think I am using improper punctuation here, but their logo has an apostrophe. So perhaps someone named Hendershot owns it. I don't know.
Do you think my theory holds up? Have you ever gotten the stink-eye from a cool kid? Tell us about it.