Five Indy coffee shops that promise social distancing. Photo courtesy of Emily Schlorf.
EMILY SCHLORF | CULTURE EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
From social events to in-person classes being temporarily canceled this semester, COVID-19 has taken a lot from students. Fortunately, the ritual of sipping coffee and studying at local coffee shops has remained a possibility, under a few conditions. Whether students are looking for a great place to buy a cup-of-joe to go or are yearning for a break in the monotony of Zoom learning, here are five coffee shops in Indianapolis that promise social distancing, along with tips on how to maintain coffee shop etiquette during Covid times.
Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company
Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company is located in the historic heart of Fountain Square. A block-letter slogan on their website believes that “coffee is cool, people are cooler.” With open doors and a plexiglass-outfitted table blocking customers from entering the building, Calvin Fletcher’s takes walk-up orders, provides outdoor seating and only accepts contactless payment. Calvin Fletcher’s has an online ordering option for customers who want to avoid contact as much as possible.
Jeff Litsey, co-owner and roaster, explained the protocol that Calvin Fletcher’s upholds to ensure customer safety. Litsey expects both employees and customers to properly wear their masks whenever they visit the shop. He said, “If you’re sick, don’t come anywhere near us — not because we don’t want to see you, but because there’s no reason to put anyone in harm’s way for a cup of coffee.”
Kaffeine Coffee Company
Kaffeine Coffee Company is located 6 miles away from campus and is perfect for coffee connoisseurs. Aiming to bring “third wave coffee” to Indianapolis, Kaffeine doesn’t mess around when it comes to the quality of coffee beans. Though Kaffeine takes coffee-making seriously, they do so while providing a chill, industrial-esque ambience in their shop, which is now open to the public.
Senior jazz studies major Annie Brown is a barista at Kaffeine Coffee Company, and noted that the coffee shop offers indoor seating that follows the social distancing guidelines. Brown said that customers are “able to come in and study or work or just chill,” and that customers don’t have to wear their mask if they’re seated.
“If you travel around, we ask that people wear a mask so that everyone feels safe,” Brown said. Kaffeine does not have outdoor seating options due to its location on Fulton street, which is a busy alley.
Latea Bubble Tea Lounge
Both a bubble tea and coffee shop, Latea Bubble Tea Lounge is located on the iconic Massachusetts Avenue, about 15 minutes away from Butler’s campus. With bubble and organic teas made with natural ingredients, Latea has an array of flavors and options that anyone can enjoy, tea-lover or not.
In terms of COVID-19 safety, Latea’s indoor lobby is sanitized regularly, along with the register, tables, door handles and the iPad customers use to order. With an indoor seating capacity of 25%, tables are spaced out to abide by social distancing guidelines. Latea also has online ordering options with a pickup table customers can grab their drinks from.
Founder and owner Jack Hsiao expects customers to wear a mask when they enter the store. “Things like [customers refusing to wear a mask] make business a lot harder and puts people in danger,” Hsiao said. “I really hope people can respect the governor’s order, period.”
Located in Broad Ripple Village, Monon Coffee Company is a sip-and-study staple for many Butler students. Serving organic fair-trade brews since 1997, Monon Coffee Company is a great option for coffee fanatics and small business supporters.
Due to two employees testing positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 14, Monon has ceased indoor seating and is now allowing carry-out only. Owner Leslie Dolin said that due to Monon’s narrow layout, seating people indoors for long periods of time is unsafe. “Safety is more of a payoff at this point than any money we would make from having indoor seating,” Dolin said.
In order to maintain safety for employees, Dolin asks that customers wear their masks properly, and to use the front door to enter and the back door to exit, in order to maintain distance and a better flow. Though Dolin is unsure of when indoor seating will be an option again, she is looking into delivery options and suggests people call ahead to order if they want a no-contact option.
Equal parts coffee shop and bar, Provider is where artisan drinks meet aesthetic ambiance. With their online ordering and curbside pickup options, Provider has prioritized customer and employee safety, according to owner Neil Warner.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve maintained a pretty cautious view of the situation and we have actually not opened Provider for guests inside at all, so the customer doesn’t have to walk into the space to place an order,” Warner said.
For those who have been wanting to bask in Provider’s chill yet inviting atmosphere, their patio seating opened on Aug. 24th.
To best protect and respect fellow Provider guests as well as employees, Warner asks customers to wear their masks whenever interacting with employees, and to throw away any trash so employees do not have to unnecessarily come into contact with germs.
Warner also encouraged readers to support local businesses whenever possible. “Think about your decisions as a consumer, if you want your community to be a vibrant and diverse landscape — in terms of lots of different options and a thriving local business scene — then I would really consider, especially in times of crisis, where you are spending your money.”