By Aarzoo Naeem Chaudhry
Lahore’s love affair with cafés seems to be getting deeper. Every other day cafés are popping up in the city. The hip and happening crowd of Lahore is not only interested in coffee, they’re looking for a cozy, casual place to hang out with friends on weekends. Not all cafés in Lahore are worth mentioning, however, amongst the mushroom growth of these cafés Gloria Jean’s Coffee has risen above the rest.
Situated right next to the famous Coffee Tea and Company, Gloria Jean’s Coffee has managed to attract a large crowd from the very day it opened its doors to Lahore. The worthy experience begins the moment you step inside Gloria Jean’s Coffee as the strong essence of coffee beans greets you.
Background music, people chit chatting combined with the smell and sound of fresh coffee beans being grounded defines Gloria Jean’s Coffee. The whole place is designed in neutral tones, whether it is the wooden flooring, furniture, paint or even the lamps. Tones of brown dominate the area giving the café a casual and warm aura as cafés are meant to be places where you can relax, read a book or just catch up with friends. The light chocolate brown walls matched with the blackboard menus on them complete the café look. Sitting on the beige and brown sofas looking outside the window makes it the perfect nestling spot. A lot of sunshine pours in through the French-inspired windows adding to the friendliness of the place, unlike most dark, mysterious caves – ‘sheesha cafés’ that have sprouted across the city.
There’s a huge counter in front of the entrance where you place your order and behind it there’s an array of coffee mixing machines, coffee beans etc. My favorite area is the right corner of the counter where they keep the essentials for the coffee like straws, sugar, spoons and of course jars of chocolate, orange sprinkles, honey, cinnamon powder that you can sprinkle generously. The café’s help-yourself attitude gives a casual and almost relaxed feel. Unlike, most of the cafés in Lahore, Gloria Jean’s Coffee is spacious and has the capacity to comfortably seat 50-60 people at one time, which is a blessing if you want to get away from crowded spaces.
I simply adore the two 7 feet tall lamps with beige umbrella shades as they add to the simple yet wholesome feel; Coffee beans stored in traditional jars alongside the flavors used in the coffee adds more interesting detail to Gloria Jean’s Coffee. Kept in square shaped shelves on the wall almost make you feel like
you’re browsing through a coffee shop museum. I love being in outdoor spaces where one can just relax, enjoy the fresh air, sip some coffee, and gossip with friends. Gloria Jean’s Coffee provides the perfect outdoor experience, which is again a rarity in Lahore considering the small spaces and growing number of takeaways. Gloria Jean’s Coffee is considered a casual coffee shop around the world and not a hotshot place to hang out for the hip teenagers and chic aunties.
Nevertheless, all is good as long as it’s serving its purpose of entertainment and giving the Lahoris some peace of mind at the same time.
This article was originally published in the print edition of Valuemag, issue 1, May 2008.