When The Well moved from its former location, it split into two coffee shops. Kind of like mitosis. (Who says you can't learn science on this blog?) Fine by us—spread that love around. One of them landed across the street from Lipscomb, in a strip that looks like the remnants of an old town square. Its neighbors are Copper Kettle, a Subway, a used bookstore, and a jewelry shop #RingBySpring. (The other is in Brentwood, which desperately needed a non-Starbucks, and we are forever grateful.)
In case you're new here, The Well is a Christian coffee shop with a missional approach to business. They want to cultivate community and giving back. Their shops feature fair trade beverages and various items like purses, lotions, and hats, each with a cause. Their motto or tagline or whatever is "where coffee changes lives." Their battle cry/wifi password is Love. Coffee. Both of which are appropriate.
The atmosphere at The Well Lipscomb is kind of everything you'd want in a coffee shop. There are two open rooms side by side. It's definitely cozier than the one-large-open-room Brentwood location, but they make it work. It has kind of a college-y feel, if that makes any sense—people studying, talking about changing the world, friends hanging out in groups. A Christian college date, where the guy is reading the girl his Bible. (Laura particularly likes this atmosphere because it takes her back to her Belmont days at Bongo Java.)
The main room with the counter has a pew along one wall, forming a bench for a few small tables. That same room has several tables of various sizes and an eclectic group of refinished chairs. When we say "refinished," we mean that they painted them and recovered them and then sanded and buffed them until they look like the paint has been there forever. The other room has a window bar and a community table, plus a wall bench seating area. Basically, lots of tables, most of which are made of old wood. Probably from a barn.
The rest of the shop continues the barn theme, with reclaimed wood on most of the walls, a barn door, and some tin on the ceiling. Windows cover one entire wall. Like, real windows, not just old windows they've nailed up for decoration.) Mason jar lights hang from the ceiling.
A little sitting area is situated by the cream/sugar bar, with a couple of arm chairs. It's probably the best place to wait for your blind date. Not that we know from experience (because the guy got there first).
This seems like as good a place as any to point out that on this cream/sugar bar there are small placards which you can place on your table stating "Let's share my table!" You are apparently encouraged to set these on your table if you are sitting alone so you can "make friends" or "not waste space," we guess. We speak for all introverts Just Trying To Get Work Done when we say a polite yet stern "no, thank you."
There was live music the night we went which was totally not awkward when the artist said, "I wrote this song about when you're a songwriter and you have to sing to people who aren't listening" to Elizabeth's back. #Sorry
We'd also like to state for the record that it was a little (a lot) difficult to have a semi-serious conversation about work when some dude is all WOAH WOAH WOOOOAHHHH Jesus WOOOOAHH WOAHHHHH at a decibel level OSHA would not deem appropriate for indoors.
E: I got the hot chocolate. They claim it is not from a packet, but a blend of white and dark chocolate. I believe them.
Hot Chocolate Taste Rating: 8
L: I got my usual The Well drink, a fireside latte. It's a combo vanilla/cinnamon latte, which I like because the cinnamon balances out the sweetness of the vanilla a bit so it's a little toned down.
Fireside Latte Taste Rating: 8
I also got a muffin even though I gave up sweets for Lent because a muffin is breakfast food okay get off my back. Then upon tasting it realized it had a funny texture, but I kept trying it to see if it would change. Suddenly it hit me. Tunnel vision. I had grabbed a [record scratch noise] GLUTEN FREE muffin. I know. I KNOW. I tried it one more time (to be sure, you guys) and then decided whatever YOLO I am not wasting calories on a poser pastry that disintegrates in my hand. So I went back and got a gluten-full lemon poppyseed, which was much better but kind of crumbly and still not as good as the orange streusel muffin at Bongo which I taste in my dreams. It seemed like it had been frozen and thawed.
Gluten-free muffin taste rating: fart minus
Gluten-full muffin taste rating: 5 (out of 10, but it didn't stop me from eating the whole thing)
There was no latte art to speak of on my latte, which was kind of disappointing considering we had attended a latte art competition at its sister shop.
For some reason the baristas seemed to have a bit of sass that night. Not a lot, just enough that they seemed like they may have had a bad day. Laura was told to just grab her own muffin (it looked like the plexi-glass was on HER side, ok?) and did not explain all the options after asking if they had the pumpkin muffins (they did not) (which is exactly how gluten-free disasters happen). The second barista (when Laura was remedying her gluten-free disaster) said about three sentences which where "can I get you something [straight face emoji]" "three dollars" and "[unintelligible] *spins iPad around*"
To be fair the straight-face-emoji barista perked up when someone brought donuts in. (Who wouldn't?)
Fun fact: we noticed the baristas playing Hangman on a whiteboard in the back, so if you've ever wondered what baristas do in their spare time, it's pretending to execute a stick figure while playing a guessing game. (Why is Hangman so weird?)
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 0. We have both been here before and The Well is not somewhere you feel easily judged.
Disheveled facial hair count: 7
People talking about their fears/insecurities, using those exact words plus "stronghold" and "fallen world": 2
Level of Pretentiousness: 2. This is such a laid-back shop. They don't mind you asking a billion questions and taking your time. The way it's set up, it's hard to get that "everyone turn and look at the outsider" kind of thing when you walk in.
Parking: 7. There are a few spots out front. Not a lot, but we've never had trouble finding a spot. We imagine a lot of students walk over. You could also park on a side street nearby.
Musician Quality: We'd vote for at least one on Idol.
Overall, The Well Lipscomb is a good place to go if you're going to study (unless there is live music in which case bring noise-cancelling headphones) or catch up with a friend, but always read your muffin's label.
Have you ever been to this location? Was there live music? Did you have to yell until there was a pause in the music and then you were yelling about how loud the music was and people could hear you? (Oh, us either.)