Coffee Shop Review #21 Bellwether

Down in Denver, exploring new coffee shops per usual. Categories out of 5.

Location-3.5(Way down on East Colfax Bellwether stands alone as a destination rather than a spot to stop in on a walkabout. However, Bellwether serves as a four stops in one shop featuring a cafe, small racks of clothing, a barbershop and a whiskey bar at night. The neighborhood is definitely up and coming and there are some emerging restaurants. as well as, the three great Denver music venues: The Bluebird, The Gothic Theater, and The Ogden. However, you will need to drive anywhere you are trying to go so it is best to square away some quality time and stay in rather than order coffee to take).

Barista Cuteness-4(The baristas at Bellwether are 1 for 1 so they are batting a 100 so far. The man serving us was so pleasant and in lieu of other customers hung about our table to discuss the changing Denver scene and tell us about the cafe. He was very well-dressed, which reflected the aesthetic of the store and clothing for sale very well. A peak in the back barbershop revealed well-coiffed attractive hipsters as to be expected).

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Coffee Knowledge/Expertise-4.5(We ordered two cappuccinos and a Kenya pour over to sample the coffee selection for taste, variety, and consistency. Bellwether serves coffee from Boxcar Coffee Roasters, a well-known Boulder/Denver roaster that is on the rise.  The cappuccinos were a bit dry (more foam) and the espresso did not have an unctuous taste, it was drier as if the beans were older and roasted to be more bitter. The Kenya pour over was served in a massive tin camping mug which was a great start. The coffee was flavorful, full bodied and was carefully prepared to bring out the fruity flavors).

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Ambiance-5(The design is where Bellwether truly shines. The all black and white color palette oozes a coolness that is very effortless. Simple chairs and tables complement focal design touches like the sewing table desk, overstuffed Winchester sofas, and fantastic Ducati motorcycle. Floor to ceiling windows on the street-facing wall let in ample light to brighten the dark features. The whiskey and coffee bar is very simple, neat and uncluttered which confirms the crisp, unfussed vibe).

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Food/Pastry Selection-3.5(A very meager single glass pastry stand held a few savory and sweet muffins, scones, and cookies. The selections did look appetizing and sound original but clearly was an afterthought for the cafe. Without having sampled any particular baked good I would ventrue to say they looked like they would tast very good but will need to confirm).

Overall Rating:4,1

Winter Wear: Where and What?

Getting back to fashion for a moment there are two stores in NYC for the stylish, smart shopper that will have you ready for winter. My winter must have clothes are knits, knits, knits, and more knits! Knit sweaters, skirts, dresses, knits galore. Sweater dresses will keep you toasty during the frosty Winter months and knit skirts are perfect with a fitted top or blouse and cardigan. Long sleeve dresses of any fabric are great paired with sweater tights or leggings. Another winter trick that I often employ is recycling my summer dresses and skirts by throwing a simple sweater over them and creating a new look with a fun pattern and mixed textures.

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For Winter footwear make sure you get yourself a good ankle boot and rain boot. My rain boots have turned out to be perfect for light snow and lets face it, in reality snow turns into slushy grey water pretty quickly in the likes of most cities. While Hunter Rain Boots are all the rage, I dislike the style of Hunter’s classic rain boot and find most of their glossy and regular colors off putting. When I was in Europe, Aigle Boots, manufactured in France, adorned everybody’s feet. Aigle Boots seem sleeker to me and are also more fitted along the calf. They also boast a huge range of colors and styles. I have the Chantebelle in the olive color-way and I absolutely love them! They provide enough room for thick socks while still fitting me snug with skinny jeans or tights on. The subtle olive green with a hint of orange provides a nice departure from a brown or black tall boot while still matching with most of my outfits.

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So where to get good quality, cute,and affordable sweaters and knits in NYC? Two stores: Uniqlo and Joe Fresh. Yes, these stores are both technically chains but they are perfect for picking up your basic winter layers. Uniqlo’s clothes are very minimal, sleek, and made with high-quality fabrics. While at Joe Fresh, there is a younger, less utilitarian vibe, and clothes are injected with fun prints and embellishments.  Whenever I am in Soho I always go to these shops because no matter what time of year, they miraculously have some sort of sale going on making their reasonably priced clothes even more desirable. Both these stores also have very strong men’s collections as well and will have your colored corduroy and warm sweater needs covered, two cold-weather staples for men.

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The Hunt: Vintage Store Finds Round #1

While this blog is allegedly a third devoted to fashion I have been rather lacking in that department. However, I am going to attempt to make it up by sharing three great vintage stores I have found to get your wardrobes ready for fall. I was lucky enough to pull in my friend Kayla Aihara to do a quick little Autumn photo shoot in Mt. Vernon.

See more of Kayla’s gorgeous work here!

1. Via Gypset, Adams Morgan-Via Gypset is a great vintage store that strives to bring you a combination of European street style, jet-setter attitude and that perfect gypsy bohemian look (see the name). Via Gypset is small and cozy, with a great attic space that really makes you feel like you are digging for vintage gold. The consignment store carries many designer brands, for men and women, from all around the world at fantastic prices. I found this great brioche blouse for $5! It was quite a steal and a good addition to any business casual wardrobe.

Photo: Top-Brioche,Skirt- Solemio,Shoes-BC, Kayla Aihara Photography

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2. Secondi, Dupont Circle-Secondi is a packed consignment store that wraps around the upper level of Starbucks and Dolcezza in Dupont Circle. The shop has a wide array of clothing and is currently featuring some great overcoats to get you ready for Winter. I found the cable knit sweater of my dreams that I have been searching for. The sweater is very lux and very warm and for $35 not too bad a price tag. Note: the store exclusively carries trappings for women.

Photo: Top- J Crew,Pants-Just USA,Shoes-BC,Kayla Aihara Photography 

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3. Georgia Avenue Thrift Store, Georgia Avenue NW-Here is your huge, Salvation Army-esque, legitimate thrift store. While my other two finds are more boutique-like establishments, Georgia Avenue has it all-housewares, racks and racks of clothes, shoes, books, electronics, basically anything you could possibly be searching for. You must come prepared to wade and sift through an endless sea of people and hangers to find the pieces you are looking for. While my first visit did not result in any fashion finds the bargain prices will certainly call me back. I didn’t see anything that was over $20 so if you are prepared, determined, and have no qualms trying clothes on in the middle of aisles Georgia Avenue Thrift Store is the place for you.