SCARS OF CYBER BARS and their demise has been discussion of late on the ever waxing and waning WWWAC list. Recently @CafÈ and KoKoBar (in Brooklyn) closed, spurring thoughts of why this trend is taking place. Atmosphere, marketing, or management can all be blamed, but what *is* the problem? In my recent trip across the U.S. I noticed a similarity between the Cyberworld CafÈ in San Francisco, the @CafÈ, and Alt.Coffee in NYC. The cafes lack in pleasing personality. Exposed pipes and brick can be nice in a joint, if treated well, but when its that not-a-big-budget-but-i'm-still-supposed-to-look-hip/cool/trendy/quaint/inser t_decorator_word_here atmosphere, it won't appeal to wired nor non-wired crowds. New York alone breeds snobbery. We are immersed in good design and beautiful trendy world renowned museums, clubs, restaurants, and stores. Not that we demand it, but the digital crowd is even more blasÈ because we are not only sitting in new, hip, ultra modern, well-designed offices, but we create it, sell it, market it, use it. Our demands aren't necessarily higher, but more heightened. We want to go to places that have a killer atmosphere to lounge in while we experiment with the latest killer app. Small computers sitting at ends of uncomfortable tables in the back of a bar won't cut it. Over-stuffed beat-up "comfy" furniture attacks our senses at the other end. Being swallowed in an arm-chair isn't conducive to surfing or socializing, its good for veggie in front of mind-numbing tv. This won't even appeal to the non-wired crowd. Why not put WebTV in at one end of a space with ottomans and chaises for surfers, how `bout some terminals clustered on a cocktail table surrounded by a soft leather sofa, can we put a monitor at one end of the bar (with and a nice spill resistant plastic covering for the keyboard) and a tv at the other -- the game is on for one's enjoyment, a sports-related site for another. Lets bring the computers into the Lounge, not the bar into the Office.
(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)