Sunday, January 27, 2008
CC: Northern Lights Espresso Bar
What's a Coffee Commentary?
Subject: Northern Lights Espresso Bar
Location visited: Scranton, PA
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 5+ [see key]
These days, many of the prime would-be coffeehouse locations are just too high in rent. I've seen several coffee establishments go out of business and many more suffer because deeper pockets have their eyes on prime retail space.
But in the town of Scranton, I was delighted to find Northern Lights Espresso Bar smack dab in the midst of central Scranton. The first time I caught sight of it was during some huge Italian festival where the streets were packed with tents and pedestrians. I was passing through at a late hour, needed a good pick-me-up, found it in decent time, and narrowly missed the last call. Fortunately it wasn't the last time I'd be driving through Scranton at a late hour.
The place is housed in a majestic stone building with gargantuan storefront windows right across the street from an old church (and maybe a park; I forget). There's a good deal of metered parking nearby and the oddly when I manage to visit, parking isn't a problem.
Walking in, it's a two-floor space with a wonderful furniture arrangement and beautiful art hanging on the wall. The line is usually healthy and the place almost always hopping.
The coffee is Gimme! out of Ithaca, which was a welcome surprise. The coffee brewed was about up to par with Gimme! straight from the native spout (i.e. little blundering in the brewing at Northern Lights) and they seemed to serve the better coffees (Gimme! has a few dark roasts that make me cry). The espresso was pretty good, as it was pulled decently but for some reason, it just didn't wow me. The tea I think is free leafed.
If I was a native Scranton-ite working in the downtown area, I would be uber pleased to know that Northern Lights was a viable coffee (and meeting) option so close by. I think the place could definitely use some fine-tuning but overall, I definitely plan on stopping in when I'm in the area.