A ‘Personality’ Story
I’ll admit, I didn’t expect much when my shadow darkened the door on The Vape Caffè, Capel Street, Dublin 1 a couple of weeks ago. Pre-emptively, I had decided that there wouldn’t be a connection with what I was doing (in building The Personal-a-Teas Café Community) and the establishment I was just about to set foot into. And, let’s call a spade a spade, it wasn’t so aesthetically pleasing on the eye from the outside, anyway.
Metaphorically, I was judging ‘the book by the cover’.
Us Irish, we’re masters with distinction at this!
Tentatively, I stepped inside the open doorway…
Looking around I was greeted by a myriad of colours, drawings, graffiti (both sprayed and chalked!) (a dart-board!), non-descript wooden counters, old staircases (one going up above, one going down below!), an old barista machine and a beaming smile! Yes, a beaming smile; the like of which you do not see, everyday. A smile that can instantly raise your spirits. It tells you ‘everything in the world is alright!’ It was a magical smile. And the smile belonged to Massimo Scaramella, the barista!
‘Ciao friend’, he boomed (as I entered). (It’s true, his voice can be booming!!!) Perhaps he saw the uncertainty in my eyes. His deep Italian concerto-like brog was immediately disarming! The preconceptions / misconceptions dissipated into the ether (like the ‘smoke from a vape cigarette, so to speak)! The rapport was immediate! I liked this guy – there was no doubt he was a character!
And so, we began to shoot the breeze. It’s true, I was there on business, and the ‘sales pitch’ was woven into the fabric of our conversation, but the conversation was super friendly, super positive, mutually ‘inspiring’. It really was.
What was happening during this brief encounter was that I was actually witnessing (and experiencing) exactly what I had described in a previous article: that cafes tend to be an extension of ‘the personality of their owners’.
As with Ray McCabe from McCabes Deli, on Townsend Street, which has the feel of refuge against the ‘rat-race’ outside and it has the feel of ‘the little guy’ continuously fighting for survival in a very crowded, yet geographically small, localised marketplace. Like Kevin and Zoe, from Two Pups Coffee, the ‘hipster-lite’ super-cosy, friendly café on Francis Street. (You’re always welcome here, with no pretensions in sight!)’. Strangely, two lads sitting outside Two Pups confirmed these assertions almost ‘word for word’, yesterday!
And like, Jason and Josh, from The Michan Spot – their ‘community-driven’ spirit sees them open up their café at the ‘Witching Hour’ of 5 am every morning, so that they can support the early-bird workers on Smithfield’s bustling markets.
These are the people we want to work with. These are the cafes we want as members of The Personal-a-Teas Café Community. These people (and establishments) have… REAL personality.
And it is true to say that The Vape Caffè is an extension of the personality of Massimo. Inside the café is bubbling with unrealised imagination and creativity. There’s a feel of bohemia, but it’s understated – it’s a friendly, welcoming, albeit chaotic bohemia. There’s ideas oozing from the fabric of the café. The potential is amazing. And it is this potential, which through two-way (even three!) communications because, Sinead Rossiter, Massimo’s girlfriend is another wonderful ‘personality’, together we will focus upon and realise the true potential of this unique Pandora’s Box of wonder on Dublin’s Café Scene.
Think Amsterdam. Think Berlin. Sprinkle some Italian / Irish dust over these thoughts and you’re on the right track.
I’m not one for letting any proverbial ‘cats out of bags, but it’s safe to say, that The Vape Caffè is the one establishment where I have thought, ‘this café has actual magic here’. There is something special and unrealised at work here. We are only tapping the surface of this magic now…
So, what I would say to you, Dear Reader, is come on down to The Vape Caffè. Experience the unearthed magic – ‘don’t wait for it!’ Feel it for yourself! Pop in, say ‘Hi’ to Massimo and Sinead, and I guarantee, you’ll stay for the craic (a little longer than expected!).
Oh, and did I mention The Piano…?
Ref: Two Pups Coffee
Ref: The Michan Spot