The first thing I noticed about Elixr was the number of people.

Clearly, it’s a popular coffee shop, especially among the independent stores. Located a short walk from Dilworth Park, I am not surprised. It is, quite literally, within the centermost districts of Philadelphia. I had heard of it even before I developed an interest in independent coffee shops.

The dark ambiance contrasts with the vibrancy of the environment. Countless conversations murmur throughout the room, creating a somewhat lively atmosphere in an otherwise gloomy space. The smell of the air seemed clean, although the dim yellow lights seemed reminiscent to those found in basements of abandoned houses. The walls seemed to be falling down.

I ordered a small dark roast like I have countless times before. The barista said it was a South America blend, but it’s not like I could taste the difference. The cub had an eerie shape to it. The handle seemed almost uninviting. I shrugged the thought. Like most of the coffee I have had in these types of stores, the blend, unlike the room, was bright.

I took a deep sip before setting the cup down softly on the slick wooden table. Maybe that’s how this place should be described: woody. I plopped down my laptop and started opening my spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel.