When Frothy Monkey decided to open a downtown location, the world rejoiced. Okay, Nashville rejoiced. While we have tons of great local coffee shops, downtown Nashville proper was decidedly in a chain-coffee-only zone. Chain coffee that's only available before 6pm. But there are events downtown. People live there now. We need coffee. Local coffee. After 6pm. (And before, while we're at it.) We were thrilled. You get the point.
Specifically, these coffee shoppers were excited because we both work mere blocks from this new 5th ave location, which made coffee shopping especially convenient for lunch.
The atmosphere is trendy and fun. We went during the lunch hour on a weekday and it was packed. The place was filled with Oxford button-ups, but we could tell the wearers were the kind of people that were super pumped about the Live on the Green line-up this year and might be strategically covering up some half-sleeves. There was one bold business hipster in a plaid button-up, skinny tie that didn't really match, and a not-quite-duck-dynasty level beard. He was marrying style and function, and making. it. work.
They have several tables in the front of the shop, a long back room with more tables (for those actually trying to be productive), and an upstairs loft with even more tables (and a perfect vantage point for people
There is plenty of room for coffee/lunch meetings, hipster mom dates, corporate "imma grab a coffee real quick" runs, and even "it's just lunch" first dates. Of course, it's also a great place to do some freelancing.
The busyness is perfectly balanced by the mix of clean, sophisticated decor and exposed, fancy-industrial walls. The whole shop is bright and airy.
E: I got the fruit tea and the Royale sandwich.
The fruit tea was orange-y, minty, and basil-y. It took some getting used to, but eventually, the mint overtook the basil and it was pretty great. I'm not sure how much it cost (Sorry!).
Tea Taste Rating: 8
The Royale is smoked turkey, swiss, avocado, lettuce, tomato, basil mayo, served warm on toasted multi-grain. It came with chips and salsa which looked standard, but were actually above average. It was $8.
Sandwich Taste Rating: 8
I also had the iced chai on a previous trip. I'd rate it a 7.
L: I got my usual vanilla latte, iced, due to the fact it was 800 degrees outside with 300 percent humidity. It was the high quality we have come to expect from the Monkey. (I don't think people call it The Monkey.)
Latte Taste Rating: 9
Due to the fact that we arrived at different times (meeting downtown is one of my only realistic opportunities to be the first one there), we ordered the same sandwich. Except I got mine without avocado because I don't like mushy green stuff on my sandwiches. As Elizabeth said, it was yummy. I thought the salsa was a little watery though.
Sandwich Taste Rating: 8
The dress code for the baristas/waiters/cashiers seems to just be "look cool, but not like you actually put effort into it." And let us tell you, they are nailing it. (Pro tip: wear a lot of black and toss your hair into a messy bun. Applies to both genders.) The baristas were friendly. The cashier didn't mind answering Elizabeth's questions about where to stand to receive her fruit tea and ice water (because there was a line and, I mean, they just have to pour the tea, right? It's not like there's latte art going into this). They were also quick to bus our table.
However, Elizabeth went once before this trip on a weekday, around 10:15am, just to grab some caffeine. The service that day was friendly, but slow. Despite the fact that there was no crowd, it took approximately 8 minutes to get her drinks (she was ordering for a coworker, too) after ordering. But, we think we figured it out. While there were several people standing behind the counter seemingly doing nothing while all the lattes were being prepared, we believe it's entirely possible that Frothy hired a few millennials to stand around and look cool. It's a marketing strategy.
The time we went, the food and drinks were served relatively quickly, so they must have figured out how to best use their marketing strategies (have them refill drinks and bus tables) between the two visits.
Ratings Round Up:
Rosie the Riveter Headbands: 1
Girl walking around brazenly holding a Starbucks venti latte. Then returning.: 1 (The nerve.)
Level of Pretentiousness: 8. This place is a safe haven for artists trapped in 9 to 5 jobs.
Parking: It's downtown, so it's pretty much the worst. Be prepared to pay or walk. Usually both.
Level of Uncomfortableness Upon Walking In: 7. Only because there's a high cool factor. And because Laura could feel the man behind her throwing some major shade while she unashamedly took pictures of everything. The counter is far enough away from the door that you won't have ordering anxiety, though.
Have you been to the new Frothy? What did you think? Have you ever entered an independent coffee shop with Starbucks in hand?