Cool Beans Library Cafe: Where The Gore and Anti-Hipster Club Meet

Somewhere along the line of our conversation, the topic came upon a fork and swerved left straight into true crimes territory. A dozen serial killer names and mind blowing murder descriptions later, we decided to name our group as the Gore and Anti-Hipster Club. The founding members are; Lot, Reese, Karl and myself. You probably have an idea what we'll do if we come across a bunch of hipsters. Anyway, I’ve known these people for quite some time. We all got connected through our madness-filled blogs at the now defunct Multiply site. Kindred souls when it comes to literature, the beatnik culture and the prose that goes along the lines of Kerouac’s mad people’. And what better way than to reconnect with them after a number of years, at a place called “Cool Beans Library Cafe” , which is located at Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.

The café is owned by my friend Lot and her partner Scott. According to her they planned it long before they even got funding. The idea of serving highland coffee came during a trip to Baguio when Lot instantly fell in love with the taste of Kalinga, Sagada and Benguet coffee. The books was a no-brainer - since knowing Lot, it’s the one she will bring with her once exiled on an isolated island. At first they only plan to display just a few favorites, but as luck would have it, the place they rented used to be a storage area for books previously rented by a literature professor. When they bought the lease of the place, they also acquired the books which filled a total of 15 sacks. It was then that the idea of library café came about.

Designing the interior of the place was hands-on as both Lot and Scott took the lead in applying their artistic talents in making the place look like as it is today. I remember when I first stepped inside I instantly felt the creativity running parallel with the number of must-read books displayed on the shelves, the smell of fresh aroma of the coffee beans plucked straight from the highlands adds to the unique vibe. As Lot said, “Cool Beans came about after two frustrated artists found an outlet to create a hangout place conducive to creative thinking”. Last April 23, all their hard work paid off as the first Library Café in the Philippines opened its doors to coffee and book addicts.

When I am not on a trip I usually stay home but it doesn't mean I don’t want to hang out somewhere. I am always on the lookout for some hole in the wall places, where I could just hang out with my friends and as Lot says, do some creative thinking. Cool Beans has that character. It’s a little far from where I live, given a chance I won’t mind the distance going there again. In fact the four of us have set up a monthly meet-up there, to discuss the agenda of the group, enumerating new serial killer discoveries, new downloads of gore movies and exchanging ideas for an indie horror film.

Books and coffee – you can’t think of any other perfect combination than that. Not of the wholesome kind at the least. Our conversation lasted until closing time, there was so much to kick start a new topic, just by looking at the book shelf. From the real identity of Bob Ong, Hannibal spoilers to how many characters George R.R. Martin will spare. 

Lot and Scott run the café hands-on and they seem to team up with their staff quite well. I saw how they treat them as family, they even have movie nights together. I’m not sure if Lot has succeeded in having them watch a horror movie yet, but there are plans to hold events inside the café, like a quiz night, a movie screening with an introduction from Karl (most probably it will involve decapitations). In the short time It’s been operational, a couple of events were already held there (art exhibitions, fun run registration). 

the usual suspects: Lot, Reese, Myself and Karl
The four of us are planning for the next meeting here; if you want to hear some tales that will make you crawl underneath your bed for safety, then join us. If not, then just go to Cool Beans Café for some highland coffee, soul food and a book to grab and read (not to take home fyi) while you’re at it.

Cool Beans Library Cafe
is located at 67A Maginhawa Street, Brgy. UP Village, Quezon City, Philippines 
and is open from Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
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