Garage Coffee Company is located in Marathon Village, which is a collection of shops and offices located in the old Marathon Motor Works factory. The buildings were built between 1881 and 1912 and once housed the manufacturing of the Marathon motor cars. Now, they house lots of fun places, including art galleries, the local Bang Candy Company (homemade marshmallows, y'all), some shops, a music venue, Antique Archeology (yes, of American Pickers fame), a fitness center, and our favorite local radio station--Lightning 100. There's a lot going on here.
The building's history and structure plays a large part in the atmosphere of Garage Coffee. They have garage-type decor all around--road signs, a work bench, motorcycle helmets, old gas cans--basically anything made of metal. It is definitely industrial, and while it looks cool, we would not consider it "fancy-industrial."
It's a small shop, so there are only two tables inside--a large, tall community table and a smaller four-top. There is also bar-style seating facing the windows, which offers a cool view of some of downtown Nashville. Perfectly distracting, yet not too distracting to get anything done. Like blog posts.
There's a small porch outside the shop with a couple of benches. There was also at least one table outside the shop in a hallway/lobby type thing. We would guess Garage guests would be allowed to sit and sip there.
About 30 minutes in, Elizabeth noticed a movie had been playing behind her on the wall the whole time. In her defense, there was no sound. Can anyone tell us what movie this was?
There weren't many people sitting in the shop when we were there, but several tourists came and went. A lot of people come to check out Antique Archeology and the other shops and stop by to grab a cuppa while they're there. As a result, it's a different sort of vibe in here--not a great study spot, probably, but perfect for people watching. And by people watching, we mean tourist eavesdropping.
They have a simple menu, but a few "Craft Drinks" are written on a chalkboard that doesn't look like a "permanent" chalkboard menu, so our sleuthing skills lead us to think they change with the seasons. They also have soups, salads, and pastries (including a couple of gluten-free items) and sweets that all looked delicious.
E: They had a few hot tea options that sounded interesting, but it was really nice outside, so I went with the iced chai latte. Per usual. Their sign said it was organic and I could tell it wasn't just a concentrate. There was also extra cinnamon. I'm not always a extra-cinnamon fan, but I liked it here in iced form. The price wasn't bad, either. $3.50 for what is, by my best estimate, a grande in Starbucks terms.
Tea Taste Rating: 8
L: No latte art review today, for, as Elizabeth mentioned, it was beautiful outside, and I chose to order my vanilla latte iced. I know this may be devastating to you, as it is likely the reason you keep coming back to these reviews, but try not to shed too many tears. I did hear them discussing with a customer the possibility of making a gear out of latte foam, so I have a feeling they're pretty skilled.
Latte Taste Rating: 7. Not the best I've ever had, but definitely enjoyable.
I also sampled a ginger molasses cookie that looked too good to pass up. #impulsebuy
Cookie Taste Rating: 10. It was delish.
The baristas were super friendly. They engaged in conversation with each patron and seemed to truly delight in their job. They gave approximately one out of every three customers directions to something else in the Village and were friendly and helpful each time. One of them reminded us of Maggie Gyllenhaal in Stranger Than Fiction, which means she seems lovely. She even remembered someone upon seeing them for what seemed to be only the second time. You go, Maggie.
A few locals seem to be regulars at the place, but it's possible they work in one of the nearby stores.
We also really liked Garage's logo and coffee sleeves:
Ratings Round Up
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 0. It's a small shop, so the odds are minimal that hipsters will be staring at you when you enter, and Not-Maggie-Gyllenhaal was super nice.
Location: 8. It's only slightly out of the way of the city and takes you to a different part of town. The area surrounding Marathon isn't necessarily Nashville's finest, but Marathon Village is fun and just hipster enough.
Level of pretentiousness: 2. The shop is pretty low key. And Not-Maggie-Gyllenhaal, like we said, was super kind--even to someone who, from what we heard, may have been smelling coffee for the first time. (She liked it.)
Parking: 9. There are a couple of gravel lots across the street that usually have plenty of spaces (unless there's a show at the music venue), as well as street parking. All free. (praise hands emoji)
Entertainment Level: 9. So many different types of people came through while we were there. So many.
Disheveled Facial Hair Count: 2
Newsboy Hats: 1
Camouflage NHL jerseys: 1
Number of transient tourists: Approximately 97
Most popular tourist questions: "Is this separate from Antique Archaeology?" "Is Antique Archaeology open?" "Where's the bathroom?" "Are they filming at Antique Archaeology today?"
UPDATE: We overheard Not-Maggie-Gyllenhaal saying that the day we were there was her last day (say it ain't so, Maggie!). So if you see someone walking around with a nose ring who looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal doing good in the community, give her a high five.
Have you ever been to Garage Coffee Company? What did you think? What's the weirdest thing you've ever heard a tourist say?