Quirky cafes and bars are all the rage at the moment partly because there has been a huge revival of interest in vintage style and all the things that go with. Many people point to the hipster revolution when it comes to vintage style, but there’s no need to actually put a negative spin on something that is so popular and so attractive.
In many ways, vintage style is about a return to positive traditional values and things that are richer in content than a lot of aspects of modern culture. Why shouldn’t people find great value in clothes that are cool and made to last or in films and music that display a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity? Why should people enjoy the colours and textures of analogue photography as opposed to digital photography and why shouldn’t people take an interest in things like tea, coffee, good food and company, rather than TV and some of shallower forms of modern entertainment?
It’s true that such a movement can get hijacked by those who are keen to keep up appearances rather than enjoy simple but intelligent tastes and that tends to be why the hipster label comes in – it refers to people who try too hard to shoehorn this sense of style into their lives and whose vintage or simple tastes are affected rather than natural.
So this partly explains why independent coffee shops and tea rooms are enjoying such a revival. They give people the opportunity to enjoy good company cheaply and they provide an atmosphere that makes them feel completely comfortable in their tastes in much the same way as tasteful old boozers do for drinkers.
So what makes up the vintage style of an independent coffee shop? Well, it’s all about a coherent sort of incoherence – a delightful marriage of order and disorder that comes from bringing mismatched elements together. Vintage rugs are particularly popular additions, but don’t be surprise to see clashing styles of rugs alongside one another.
Old school tea sets and mismatching crocks are a common sight – as are trinkets and ornaments and art work homages to great writers and artists. The personal touch is vital and all the elements tend to come together to create a quirky, original, haphazard, but ultimately very comfortable environment.
Nevertheless, this is something that can’t be faked. People notice when the environment is contrived because it takes a certain attitude and a certain intelligence to make the vintage style work.