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It’s an idea so logical, you wonder why more shops don’t do this: Gotham City Comics and Coffee, in Mesa, Arizona, is just what the name says, a comic shop that also has some pretty good coffee. This is a place where you can linger, as local reporter Amy Young found when she paid the shop a visit recently:
Beyond the door lies a long row of comfy looking recliners, complete with built-in cup holders, each across from an individual screen for video game playing. Drinks like the aptly named Thor’s Hammer offer caffeine potency that surely will sustain hours of thumb driven gaming. This tall, icy bad boy is four, yes, four, espresso shots mixed with a milk of choice, caramel syrup and some irresistible whipped cream.
(Emphasis in the original.) Manager Jaime Ruiz brews coffee from a local roaster and has a lineup of superhero-themed coffees, including a Spider-Man (white mocha with raspberry) and Dark Knight (dark chocolate); a regular coffee is a Superman. Some people visit the store just for the coffee, and Ruiz is proud of his barista skills.
Coffee and comics is such a logical pairing that I had to wonder if there are other shops that combine the two. A quick Google search turned up Legend Comics & Coffee in Omaha, Nebraska, an Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award winner that offers not only coffee but local baked goods and free WiFi — and even a drive-through. It looks pretty nice, and co-owner David DeMarco gets it: “You want to sit and read something? What better thing than to read a comic book with a cup of coffee?” Nonetheless, DeMarco guesses that there are fewer than 10 comics/coffee shops in the country, and that sounds about right. The only other one I could find was San Francisco’s Caffeinated Comics Company, which calls itself “San Francisco’s First Green Comic Book Store/Cafe.” Like Gotham City, it brews a locally roasted coffee, Four Barrel, and its espresso drinks have won kudos from the local press.
Adding any sort of food service brings a whole new layer of complication to running a store, but it does seem like one possible way to build a destination shop where people come for the coffee and discover the comics — or vice versa.