ZolliKoffee

zolli

zolli ZolliKoffee is located on 8th Ave South, literally attached to Jackalope Brewing Company. The two share a dining/drinking area. According to Google, this part of town still counts as the Gulch, but it would be a weird walk from here to Bond Coffee.

We tried to Google the origin of the name ZolliKoffee to no avail.  It's a brewery in both senses of the word, and yet, they kept "brew" out of the name of the coffee portion. We don't understand it, but we get the feeling they're okay with you not understanding them. In fact, that's probably their goal.

Atmosphere

Zolli is slightly reminiscent in style to Cafe Coco. Definitely hippie-ish. Definitely eclectic. There's a weird smell when you walk that isn't exactly bad, but a little strange. We assume it's probably just the mix of coffee, tea, pastries, and beer. You get used to it in a minute or so.

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The counter is crowded with homemade "photoshopped" pictures (by homemade photoshop, we mean that they cut out Ellen DeGeneres' face and pasted it on that "Hang In There" cat poster), fun mugs, and mannequin hands.

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Zolli sassy kid

Once you get your beverage and perhaps a rice krispy treat the size of your face, you walk through an aqua Green Room and into the dining/drinking area. When we were there on Sunday, there was a man playing live music that we had to walk past. The room opens up into a long, yet fairly large space with several four- and six-tops. The six-tops have benches on one side. The tables are made out of what appears to be reclaimed wood and have (somewhat depressing) quotes burned into them. The chairs are all matching, which honestly, doesn't seem to go with their vibe.

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The vibe is very lively -- it's probably the type of place a brochure would call a "local watering hole."

The room is a cornucopia of people -- each drinking different kinds of brews. There were older hippie types (mostly drinking coffee), what appeared to be tourists, a lot of twentysomethings, and people who we assume were twentysomethings' parents. We were some of the only people there who appeared to be "working," most people were just spending their afternoon hanging out, drinking, and playing games (they had Battleship, you guys).

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We were serenaded by two different musical acts - one solo playing harmonica and guitar, then a husband and wife duo playing bluegrass music. The woman had earlier recommended the lemon rosemary cookies to us, so we we had an emotional connection when she stepped up to the mic. zolli singing lady

Jackalope Brewing Company is on the other end of the room; behind a half-wall, there's a bar. There is also an outdoor area with picnic tables and oversized Jenga (probably wear closed-toe shoes if you're going to play).

zolli jenga

The art on the walls is weird. There are lots of paintings of birds and unicorns and jackalopes. There are also several jackalope heads mounted on the wall. We imagine they are proof of the owners' mythical conquests and hang as a warning to other jackalopes in the area.

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There are also several old paintings that have been graffiti'd embellished with things like birds (put a bird on it!) and quirky phrases. One is emblazoned with the phrase "DO EPIC S***" (censored by yours truly in case there are any little eyes reading) in gold lettering. We thought it was amusing and just a print they found on Etsy or something, but then a girl walked up with the same phrase on her shirt. We're thinking it's their tagline. Which we think is pretty cool, as far as taglines go. You know, if you don't mind being bossed around.

There seemed to be a lot of regulars scattered about. One man came over to our table and pushed in some chairs, saying that a guy who usually comes in around that time, who is in a wheelchair, usually rolls straight through there, so he was anticipating it and making way. It was adorable. (The wheelchair man never came, though, which was a little sad. Or maybe this guy just sees dead people. Who knows.)

THE MYSTERY OF THE COWBOY BOOT

A lone cowboy boot sat on one table, leaving us to wonder what its purpose was. Perhaps art? Perhaps function? Perhaps someone got a little loose the night before and walked home with one less boot than he started with? Luckily a brave couple, seeing that there were no other available tables, sat at the boot table, and we conducted a social observation to determine what they would do -- move it? eat around it? ask if anyone lost a boot?

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First they just sat there and maneuvered around the boot, as if it were art and Not To Be Touched. After a few minutes, though, the man turned the boot around, saw the word "TIPS" taped to it, and put it on the floor. Mystery solved. Though the performer probably wasn't too happy about it.

Taste

E: I got the iced chai latte. I did notice they have a good variety of hot teas, and you get one cup + one refill for the price (I think it was $3). The chai was average. There was something in it that required chewing. Maybe just chunks of cinnamon? I'm unsure. It wasn't as gross as it sounds now that I type it out. I think it was just cinnamon, maybe cardamom? I don't really know what that is.

The chai was a little on the expensive side--$4.25 for a 16oz--but I'm now addicted to Oprah Chai, so it didn't seem like that much. Conversely, it probably isn't funding education for girls around the world, so there's that. Also, it wasn't as good.

Chai Taste Rating: 5.

L: I got my usual vanilla latte (iced). ZolliKoffee's syrups are all house-made, so technically mine was "double vanilla bean." They also had lavender mocha and cardamom, which, again, we don't really know the flavor of, so I skipped that. It was a solid latte -- I give it an 8.

I also ordered an orange lavender muffin because I have no self control. It was a little strange, but in a good way. Super moist (sorry for people who hate that word) and sweet and savory at the same time.

Orange-lavender muffin taste rating: 8

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Presentation/Service

The service in Zolli was great. The barista who took our orders was a little soft-spoken but seemed genuinely happy to serve us. He gave Laura a receipt "to remember the experience by," which was kind of adorable. Plus they either didn't notice or pretended not to judge us when we were taking pictures of everything in that four-foot wide space.

example of picture taken in 4-foot space [blurry because we were a little crammed/still trying not to be too obvious.]Ratings Round-Up

Newsboy hats: 1

Disheveled Facial Hair Count: Surprisingly few. We didn't get an exact count, but we didn't really see many except perhaps the baristas.

Baseball caps: 6 (one camo)

Cowboy hats: 1 (Bonus, it had beads.)

Sunglasses-on-heads: 6

Location: 4. It's kind of out of the way unless you are often driving down 8th South. Most people probably wouldn't notice it unless you were looking. But, it's one of the few in that area, so in that sense, the location is good.

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Parking: 5. Not abundant, but there is a small lot on the side of the building and a little street parking. Both of us found spots fairly easily, but it might be difficult at times.

Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 3. It is a little cramped and dark when you walk in the ZolliKoffee entrance, and smells a little like a hippie's living room, but altogether not judgey.

Level of pretentiousness: 5. You can tell there are some usuals, and we felt a little out of place, but more because it’s kind of like a small town rather than a hip club you’re not a part of.

Entertainment level: 9. Not only was there ACTUAL entertainment, but the people watching was fascinating. Particularly because the table across from us was enthralled in some kind of nerdy card game we have yet to identify.

Have you ever been to ZolliKoffee (or Jackalope Brewery)? Did you play Battleship?

Posted on June 25, 2014 and filed under coffee, Nashville, Shop Review, tea.