If you take a stroll down the Ave in Seattle’s U-District, you have certain expectations – a myriad of culinary options, thousands of people crowding the sidewalks, and college students talking microbiology alongside hipsters talking politics and their next night out. The atmosphere along those few streets is intense and nowhere else in the city will you find such a mishmash of culture, style, and perspective. Take a stroll inside any one of the many cafes and you’ll see this in bright neon lights (sometimes literally).
One such hotspot, located just a couple hops north of 45th on the Ave, is the Sureshot Café. What appears from the outside to be a battened down, under-maintenanced store front unfolds into a carefully laid out, well run, battened down store front. The locale to be sure guarantees a sense of relaxation. This place is the casual Friday of cafes down here, and you feel it walking in. Just as many college students, community members, and denizens of the Ave, affectionately coined “Rats”, frequent the Sureshot at any time of the day.
The lighting is dim. Not to the point of sleepiness, but it begs to be observed and keep everyone relaxed as best as any business can. Seating is plentiful. If anything, they’ve managed to stuff as many tables and chairs into their space as possible. Not only does it discourage long lines snaking through their space, it forces customers to sit down and wait. On the wall, you’ll usually find a couple, three persons using the internet only computers set up there to check email, myspace, or facebook messages while sipping on their double mocha. In the back you’ll find three vintage pinball machines, kept in perfect working condition and a blast to bang on in old school fashion. Up front, Tetris and Ms. Pacman tabletop arcades, perfect for sitting at if space is at a premium or whomping your best friend, 1985 style.
But of course, the coffee. How does Sureshot’s coffee rank among the University district elite? It’s not half bad. The coffee itself is smooth, with little bite to it, but in a good way. They don’t offer any sizes bigger than the 16 oz, something a bit odd for this day and age of ‘bigger, better, stronger’, but a smooth 16 oz double in the morning is not only refreshing, but relaxing. Keep an eye out for your mochas and flavored lattes, as the drinks tend to settle a bit more than necessary. The tail end of one drink was almost two or three ounces of chalky chocolate flavor.
The thing about the Sureshot is that you’re there for the atmosphere, for the people, and for the little extras they throw in to make it a hang out spot as much as a coffee shop.