Woodbine Coffee Company is on the corner of Woodbine and Nolensville road. It's one of those blink-and-you'll-miss-it (we both did) kind of places. It's in an old-school town square kind of strip, along with a gyro place, a Spanish Pentecostal church, and a sari store. It's an eclectic block and we love it.
Woodbine is fairly new, but we can tell they've already established themselves as a fixture in the neighborhood. The barista was keen to know if we lived nearby, they have a bulletin board full of what's happening in the area, and a few regulars that came in while we were there.
For a random Tuesday evening, there were quite a few people in the small shop. When we walked in, everyone was engrossed in what they were doing--writing, music business, reading a magazine. It was quiet, but the music playing indicated it was okay to talk. (Which, by the way, was an eclectic mix. "It's Not Unusual," followed by some sort of classical or musical theater-esque ballad, followed by a bluegrass cover of "Float On" -- yes please--followed by a solo jazz saxophone tune.)
The shop is one large room (relative to the shop), with several two-tops, chairs on one side and a couple of shared pews on the other. The repurposed pews had built-in electrical outlets. Pews with outlets in the middle of an independent coffee shop? Hashtag we are Nashville.
There was also a fish-bowl bar against the front window, and a couple of community tables. There was a stage-type area with one large table furnished with the type of plastic chairs you remember from your middle school, and a living room area with a yellow mid-century looking couch and semi-matching arm chairs surrounding a fireplace, above which hung a car door as art. They have a few bright yellow iron chairs and tables out front and a cute back entrance.
The overall decor is repurposed. We think everything here had a former life, but it doesn't seem junky or too eccentric. It's cute and fun and hip, but in a we're-totally-not-trying kind of way. Band posters--Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Relient K--and coffee shop art line the walls. (There was a good debate about some of the art. Fossil prints? Leaves? Tiny outlines of sharks?) The bar and many of the walls are decorated with random doors, old cabinet fronts, and even a shutter.
Some of our favorite qualities were the exposed brick covered in plaster in some places, which was then painted with partial Tennessee flags, along with the mismatched light fixtures.
They also had a little library in the corner, which one guy tested the boundaries of by asking if he could take a magazine with him. The barista obliged, which made us consider asking if we could take some of the books home, too. We didn't.
E: I got the iced chai. I contemplated getting something less caffeinated, but they had High Garden Tea. I can't say I don't like any of High Garden's teas, but I've had three different (overpriced) kinds and not liked any of them. Please don't tell the hippies. They have essential oils and know how to use them.*
The chai was house made. There were no concentrates, the barista clarified. He also suggested stirring because all the spices would accumulate at the bottom. And there were a lot of spices. The chai was yummy, though very cinnamon-y.
Tea Taste Rating: 8
L: I got an iced vanilla latte and a homemade samoa (YEAH YOU READ THAT RIGHT. SAMOA.) The latte was delicious, and after getting super frustrated and hangry driving all over creation after our original destination was closed, spending 10 minutes at a light on Thompson Lane trying to turn around, all the while trying to be present on a conference call and look for Woodbine...it hit the spot.
Latte taste rating: 9
The samoa didn't hurt, either. The center was a shortbread-type cookie, and it was covered in caramel and chocolate, and topped with coconut, like the traditional once-a-year confection but on steroids. Totally worth it.
Samoa taste rating: 9 (I only give it a 9 instead of 10 because I'm not the biggest shortbread fan in the world, but it in no way compromised the integrity of its deliciousness.)
They also serve food at Woodbine, but when we were there the menu was mostly salads, plus roasted potatoes (?). But they hit the big two -- quinoa and kale -- so they'll probably do well in that department.
Friendliest barista in Nashville award goes to Eddie. (You go, Eddie.) When we walked in (separately), he asked about our day, with a follow-up question or two, inquired about whether we lived in the neighborhood, and introduced himself, handshake and all. We felt like he really wanted to know his customers. He asked our names BEFORE we ordered our drinks -- not just to write it on our cups. We appreciated that he asked out of interest rather than obligation. Five stars.
We both got iced drinks, so they were in your standard clear plastic cups, but Eddie brought the coffee and the samoa right to our table, even though he totally didn't have to.
The only bad thing about this was that since we had already established a rapport, he noticed when Laura was turning around every five seconds to look at the bar and menu and take notes. He asked what we were looking for, totally trying to be helpful, and we just had to ashamedly say "just looking around" and then Laura made Elizabeth dictate to her the descriptions of the special drinks and vowed to never turn around again. Hashtag introverts, right?
(Special drinks, for anyone keeping track at home, included the Sabai - coconut milk, espresso, house-made ginger syrup and lemon zest, shaken and poured, and the Sulé - house rosemary vanilla latte. Sabai is a thai word meaning comfort and happiness. We tried to look up the meaning of Sulé but mostly just ended up on urban dictionary without any tangible answers.)
Parking: 8. There is some street parking out front, but also a bigger lot behind the shop. A little hard to find, but ample enough. Laura ended up parking behind a kebab establishment, but no one seemed to care.
Location: 4. This is probably the biggest con of Woodbine, but they manage to make it work. It's just hard to find, plain and simple. And it's on a busy road. Siri will get you there, though. Don't worry.
Matthew Perryman Joneses (doubling as our disheveled facial hair count): 1
Backward Baseball Hats: 1
Newsboys Hat: 1
Level of Uncomfortableness Walking In: 0. It's trendy, but there's a reclaimed wood wall blocking off the entrance, so you have a moment to gather yourself before entering. Everyone was super focused on their work and the barista was friendly. You really couldn't ask for anything better. Though a girl sitting in the fishbowl area moved outside once Elizabeth came into the shop. Elizabeth is trying not to take it personally.
*This isn't stereotyping--they sell essential oils in their tea shop.
Have you been to Woodbine Coffee Company yet? If not, are you going to make a trip over now? Have you ever taken a magazine from a retail establishment or doctor's office?