Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Aug. 28
Young Hickory opens in North Park
New cafe ups the ante for hangout spots.
Filter North Park’s departure left the neighborhood shy one coffee house. The opening of Young Hickory on the site of the ex-Filter at 4096 30th Street addresses the lacuna, and then some. The expensive and extensive remodel was more than just a facelift. The new interest reportedly sunk ~$150,000 into the building to rebuild everything from stem to stern: new kitchens, coffee equipment, and a fashionable redesign of the interior. Wall outlets underneath the banquettes are a smart touch from computer users’ perspective. Huge ceiling fans address an old concern from the Filter days, i.e. the borderline satanic heat inside the cafe on all but the coldest days is no more!
In addition to not skimping on the remodel, the new owner went all in with the food and drink. The coffee beans come from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and the baked goods come from Bread and Cie. Expanding the cafe’s service to include beer didn’t mean putting in a tap of PBR. Nope. The beer is all in cans, a la Tin Can Ale House, and it’s all of the craft and microbrew variety. The average price of $5 for a can of beer isn’t wicked cheap, but it’s not a ripoff, either.
Giving credit where credit is due, it doesn't look like the new ownership is interested in any snootiness, preferring a mellow, no haters vibe instead.
Cafes that sell beer are big in San Francisco and other places, so it’s nice to see the trend catching on here. There’s actually a scientific argument for balancing caffeine and alcohol intake to maximize creative output. It’s been conclusively proven via infographic, so it must be true! For those of us who sit around in coffee shops and try to create stuff, being able to segue straight into happy hour (5-7PM and $1 off beers) without unplugging is quite the boon.
For the rest of us, the ones who might want a place to gather and drink some tasty beers without having to belly up to a sticky bar and beg for service from uninterested bartenders….well, Young Hickory could provide that service too. It’s not going to be a good place to straight up tie one on, but it could be perfect for drinking a beer or two and talking to friends.
It looks like Young Hickory might be The New Hangout Spot. There’s precious little bad about the place. It’s annoying that the business’ primary web presence is on Facebook, and there’s not a phone number listed anywhere online. Beyond that, the place is everything one could want in a cafe.