Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Coffee House Demographics

A few nights ago, I sought refuge towards the end of a productive but brutal week of traveling and work. With a few clicks into the Denver music scene, I came across Common Grounds on West 32nd Ave and within a 10 minute trek experienced it to be quite a find with most excellent coffee in relaxed environs whilst Matt, Ben, Sarah, and Kinsley ( a collection of local artists) made a go at the Open Mic amidst chatting, computing, reading patrons who all seemed to feel right at home in this cozy caffeinated venue.

I don’t know about you, but singer/songwriter venues minister to me in ways difficult to explain. I avoid cover bands like the plague but gravitate to the creative, simple, unplugged ambience of open mics and indy artists. There’s substance and sustenance amongst the creative and this evening- was no exception. Eclectic or not, may their tribes increase.

One thing did strike me –even disturb me a bit. This lovely inviting Highlands coffee point seemed a bit too monochromatic and homogeneous. Take away the coded language - too white with no one older than thirty something or younger than 20. Yet, the music, atmosphere – even the buzz of conversation- was really nice and I’m convinced the homogeneity is not a function of individual prejudice but a consequence of neighborhood demographics and the outworking of a capitalism in urban centers.

Who knows? I suspect a shift in the median age would certainly shift the music towards the less creative with lyrics of lessened contemplation. So, it's hard to get upset- even as one outside of the suspected local demographic. (AKA: "old guy") Nonetheless, just for kicks I ran a quick check of the demographics.

Here are the stats:

Area: 1 mile radius
50/50 Male/Female
34.2 years Average Age
11,417 households
27,304 people
$46,733 Average Income
1.6% Asian
1.5% Black
27.9% Other
69 % White

But don’t spend too much energy fretting the consequences of new urbanism. Whilst I agree that gentrification makes for a relevant conversation, it is clearly a complex matter requiring a solution that trancends this brief post. However, for the moment, simply, order a latte, open your laptop, settle in for a song or two, and enjoy.

All the Best.

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