Sip Café is located in Inglewood, just northeast of Nashville. You go through trendy East Nashville and keep going past where the trendy, reclaimed-stuff stores mingle with the bail bond places and laundromats. There's a bridge and a YMCA and a church or two, and then, at last, Sip Café.
Sip is owned by the people who own Mike's Ice Cream. Mike's Ice Cream and Coffee Bar downtown is one of Nashville's most famous ice cream shops and oldest coffee bars (we can't find the exact stat, but we promise it is the first something-related-to-coffee in Nashville. We're professionals.). Mike's Ice Cream factory is in the same building as Sip and Sip serves Mike's Ice Cream. So, basically what we're saying is, it's also an ice cream shop.
The shop appears to be in an old bank. The only sign the bank existed, though, is the teller window (j/k you guys, we realized as we were leaving there are LOTS OF SIGNS of it being a bank. #ObservationSkillz). There is a community high top table, a few tables and chairs, along with a pew on one side with several two-top tables. The floor is a creme and brown mussel-shell type checked tile, the walls are green. The ceiling has tin tiles with a few red translucent blocks thrown in, which we thought were cool. The tables look like they were leftover from a variety of restaurants. Jazz music played over the PA. It's eclectic, but not in any specific way that is necessarily a style. It seemed to have some mid-centry flair, though.
The menus are on faux chalkboards, which are actually TV screens mounted to the ceiling. Less chalk dust, perhaps?
The vibe is pretty laid back here. There were a few hipsters, but like, the kind who are already over Barista Parlor and just want a no-frills cup of coffee, okay? This, combined with its half-vintage-ice-cream-shop, half-former-bank components, makes us think it's kind of like the anti-Barista Parlor. If it weren't in Nashville, the epicenter of irony, it might not be considered cool. Maybe that's what makes it cool. Are we getting too meta? Let's move on.
Several tables line the outside of the building for additional, al fresco dining.
Fun fact: apparently Robin Williams filmed a movie here before he passed away, according to Sip's Facebook page.
We should note that there was a very awkward, very loud one-on-one Spanish lesson going on behind us the entire time we were there. Strange moments include: student asking a question about the Antioch shooting whilst entering a one-person bathroom (was the teacher supposed to respond?), student explaining that "we can't kennel her anymore because she has colitis" but proceeding to pressure the teacher into dog-sitting, and various and sundry over-sharing. Plus the mispronunciations made L's blood boil. (PSA: "me" is pronounced similar to "may" in Spanish. Not "mee." End of PSA.)
We also saw what we assume was a first date going on, in which the guy wore sunglasses inside the entire time. (That's a dealbreaker, ladies!)
E: I got an iced chai latte. When the barista handed it to me he said, "One extra-delicious iced chai latte." It was odd because he had a full hipster beard and wore an ironic trucker hat and a tie-dye tshirt with some hand symbol on it that I did not recognize from my training in ASL for CCM songs. (Urban Dictionary says the hand symbol means Peace, Love, and Unity.) He just didn't seem the type to point out the extra deliciousness of a latte. It was also odd because the chai latte was terrible.
Chai Taste Rating: 1
I'm not sure if the milk was ruined or if there was some extra syrup in it or what. It's possible that the milk was not homogenized. Whatever the problem, it made the chai undrinkable. And after the barista straight up told me he added deliciousness to the regular recipe, I felt I could not return it. Maybe ask for the regular-amount-of-delicious one?
Fun story: As we left, I went to throw away my chai. Not wanting to put a cup full of liquid in the trashcan, I placed it in the dishes bin. As I did, I looked up and made eye contact with the barista. I can never go back there.
Looking back, perhaps the barista added the "extra-delicious" ironically. He would. Peace, Love, Unity, and Irony, right?
L: I got a mocha because I wanted to test their latte art skills, and I couldn't justify getting ice cream.
It was fine. Nothing special, just tasted like sweet coffee.
Taste rating: 5
L: Their latte art game was not great, but at least they attempted:
There's not a lot to say about the presentation. E's latte came in a clear plastic cup, but did have a fun orange straw. L's mocha came in a plain white cup and had no branding on the sleeve (not a bad thing, but not giving us anything interesting to say, either).
The barista was nice, if not a little pushy on how to feel about the chai.
Ratings Round Up:
Level of uncomfortableness upon walking in: 2. It was quiet and not the environment we expected.
Free-spirited children (a.k.a. not wearing shoes, running around wildly): 2
Health Rating: 99 (No Listeria here!)
Parking: 6. It had enough spots around the building for the shop, at least when we went, but if it's a busy day you might have to park on the street. Plus Laura parked in a crooked parking spot she assumed was an actual spot but may not have been, so we're factoring that social anxiety.
Level of pretentiousness: 0. Quote from shopping: "I think the level of caring about anything around here is pretty low."
Disheveled facial hair count: 4
Inappropriate chest-area art staring at Laura: 2
Vape count: 1 (Is the actual electronic cigarette called a Vape? Again, we're professionals.)
Awkward Spanish lessons: 1
Overall, it was a fun shop to visit, but we'll probably stick with ice cream next time.
Have you ever been to Sip Café? If so what is your go-to there? Have you ever dated someone who wore sunglasses inside? We're here to help.
P.S. If you have shop review suggestions, let us know! We're always looking for new places to visit.