Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Atlanta, Georgia

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Dr. Bombay's Underwater Tea Party

Every so often you encounter a place, that, late in your life, aligns with a place that you have been enjoying in your mind’s restful hours for many years. At this stage you cannot divorce the physical place from the one you believe you had remembered. Were you indeed remembering it, somehow traced past in your travels, peering through plateglass windows as a child, caught for moments in a film of warm nighttown, or was it a place that had grown out of the dissatisfaction with all of these fragmented moments, grown together to form one subtle impression, sketched in the meagre spaces of what you felt the world “should not be”, a place that was constructed by you as what you thought all of these things “should have been.”

Some folks might call it déjà vu, others might call the place archetypal. But, when you come upon it, it sets a standard once again, real this time, perhaps. But is it? It has sprung up overnight almost, in the way a stageset does, or an artificial ruin in an english landscape garden has. The birth of Athena, with all of her accoutrements, old texts, ruined furniture, low lighting, a rug perhaps, handscrawled signs, and a delightful name. This mature birth lends credence to your fancies that this place is a conjuration of your desires. Somehow, for once in your life, you, Hephaestus, have abetted the incarnation of a splendid spot for your familiars to enjoy. But it was not you, was it? You return to it, it still exists. Perhaps the vestige of comfort you take is that here in your city, was someone who shared that vision with you, and that they had the scratch to cobble it together.


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Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party

Near 1655 McClendon Avenue
Atlanta, Georgia 30307



11 Responses to “Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party”

  1. j.h. trefry

    one does not often register the inappropriateness of music played in public establishments. this is because of the banality of most of the spaces we encounter in the day; most of us do not grimmace when hearing mike and the mechanics in home depot because it is precisely the kind of transparent pop capitalism that home depot is the space of. however, the coffeehouse, like a certain kind of film, bears such a heavy associational and nuanced atmospheric load on its shoulders, that misaligned musical selections have the capacity to sway the space’s effect like sitting in a chair soaked with tepid brew.

    had i not been to dr. bombay’s on other occassions, the musical selection on this visit would have fallen on the wrong side of the equation i use to calculate a space’s effectiveness. carl carlton’s funked out ‘shes a bad mamma jamma,’ elton john’s disco humjob ‘philadelphia freedom,’ and edwin starr’s ‘agent double-o-soul,’ came over some unseen speakers mounted ceilingwise instead of the hissy distant sounds of quieter tracks by perhaps carole king or some other cat-appreciator drifting out of the console turntable; where was i, a skating rink? these songs were so categorically incorrect for the lowlit space, looking like oscillating fans and dusty neon, that i almost saw it as an experimental proof of the power of music over atmosphere and mood.

    i had once heard that initial screenings of john carpenter’s black christmas (bob clark’s impressive canadian giallo ripoff) ripoff, halloween, were shown without music to little acclaim. quickly add his exorcist ‘tubular bells’ ripoff music and you have something a bit visceral. perhaps it was no coincidence that i had only that day received an email referring me to another such experiment that created a trailer for ‘the shining’ utilising a heartwarmingly quirky soundtrack with a voiceover by someone who sounded like they should be shilling for milk of magnesia that turned the hauntingly hollow landscapes of the film into a warm, insipid tale of father-son reconciliation. these experiments utilise music and sound to undermine the visual spaces, once found so inseparable from their sonic supporters that we only noticed them academically, by coupling them with their audio antonyms. this discrepancy is what i drank my beverage amidst. it is with the hope that on that evening i had wandered into just such an experiment that i scroll back up to my first impressions, read them a few more times, and hope my exposition serves as fine enough a write-up for the musical experiment that the wonderful folks at dr. bombay do not feel the need to try it on me again.



  2. j.h. trefry

    Not to get too deep into the reasons why this visit to ‘The Doctor’ was part of the worst day of my life (bike accident, mugging, etc.) it did start things off on a relatively sour note. I know this has come up before and has been the subject of contention by some readers, but I do not see coffeeshops as child friendly establishments.

    This is not necessarily directed at the good folks of Dr. Bombay’s but at the effete booji denizens of Candler Park. Coffeeshops are dens of the intellect, they exist to cultivate the mind under the spell of hot caffienated beverages which melt the cell walls of the brain matter allowing brilliance to trickle from the fingertips or the tongue. As strong as coffee is, and I do not wish to belittle its powers, it cannot quell the presence of a snivelling child. Quite the opposite, the drug coursing through the veins takes affront at the interruptions of these urchins and withdraws, taking inspiration with it and leaving only nervous chattering. The mind and body cannot recover from such incursions. I enjoy looking upon children, I might even find pleasure in their self-absorbed and innocent play, but their sweatiness, their shouting and cries, their childishness rob me of the focus I need to invest in my thoughts.

    But as with dogs in public places, the responsibility for the nuisance does not lie in the source, but in the keeper/parent. The child/dog is doing what it does, and the keeper/parent should have spent enough time with the thing to know if it will wig out regularly and annoy me. But one cannot expect too much from a 43 year old woman in fluorescent tie-dye offerering their sweaty 10 year old the choice between a cinnamon roll and an iced cream at 10am on a Sunday morning while she scans the bookshelves for an author she is ‘getting into’, someone named Jean Auel? Even more unfathomable is why a 2 year old would feel the need to cry when they are getting to eat iced cream at 10am on a Sunday morning. Maybe it was because her shirtless father was paying more attention to his Dell laptop than to her.



  3. j.h. trefry

    wow. in line with other ct’ers comments about blaming dog owners and parents for the behaviour of their charges, I officially blame the mother and father of the 3 year old girl in dr. bombay’s last night for her not wearing pants or underwear. more surprising than the fact that she ran around barefoot in the shop showing off her junk for a good 30 seconds was the fact that she had walked through the front door in this state. she left the shop still naked and riding piggyback on her mother.



  4. Loren

    Ok went to Dr. Bombay’s…

    Cute & Cozy and so were the baristi. Unfortunately, their lattes are THE WORST I EVER HAD next to a starbucks.

    It was basically watery milk and coffee. HORRIBLE !

    *ahem

    That’s pretty much all



  5. n

    wow i had a completely different experience…last night was the first time i had ever been to dr. bombay’s and their green tea latte blew me away…i was telling my mom today that is the BEST drink i think i have ever had in my life…i’ve been to starbucks and such ad their drinks are watered down…this was great…
    i like the fact that they have free wifi…barnes and noble charges for it…it’s like you are a bookstore with a cafe barnes and noble, wtf? stop ripping people off so much.
    bombay’s is cute and cozy but i wish they didn’t have ice cream…that would prevent so many kids from coming into a place and disrupting serenity..didn’t like so many kids present in a teahouse
    kids can be cute, but not when i need peace and am trying to study



  6. Loren

    Green Tea Lattes are easy to make. It’s not the same as making a regular espresso-based latte. Regular lattes involve the use of the espresso machine.

    Green Tea Lattes consist of a powdered mix and milk steamed together. It’s all about the brand of powder mix you use.

    Kinda hard to screw that up.



  7. n

    not true at all…green tea lattes aren’t “always made of powdered mix and milk steamed together”…in fact most of them are made from real tea leaves and utilize tea machines…i’m from northern india and london, so i know all about tea…it’s in my blood.

    i’ve tried many green tea lattes and this was the best i’ve ever had…i believe she used real tea leaves

    one of my friends (a new yorker) went to bombay’s yesterday and said their coffee was pretty damn good too.



  8. Loren

    LOL Tea’s in your blood that’s wonderful ..
    You don’t seem to be getting my point while in fact you made it even clearer : THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT PROCESSES AND TWO DIFFERENT MACHINES.. TWO DIFFERENT DRINKS!

    Your friend being a New Yorker and digging the coffee is irrelevant. It’s not like NYC is known for good coffee they’re just known for drinking alot of it. (besides who cares?) I may put more credit into her opinion if she was say a World Renowned Coffee Connoisseur and Critic. Even then it wouldnt change what I have stated to be my own OPINION .

    Their lattes ARE HORRIBLE.

    Hope I didnt make you cry over what is apparently your favourite place in the world.

    *side note: Im from Brooklyn**



  9. RSH

    I LOVE Dr. Bombay’s, love the atmosphere, coffee, snacks and ice cream too. I also understand, that I have to accept the occasional, bratty child from the neighborhood…I’m not fond of children in my space, but Bombay’s welcome everyone.

    P.S. I think the music is just fine…get over it people!



  10. j.h. trefry

    I am both thrilled and terrified at the news I discovered tonight: Dr Bombay’s is expanding to consume the former hair salon next door. More to come.



  11. j.h. trefry

    Les enfants!!! The new wing of the Doctor is already open. After being merely a sign pasted in the window only a week ago a fully appointed fetus-in-fetu is open through a still unfinished portal in the wall. Certainly this is not a thoughtful expansion. But that was never the Doctor’s MO. The barista explained to me that “it is really easy to knock out a wall. Someone skilled can do it in like five hours.”

    The original Doctor was somewhat undercooked itself and took a few years to grow into the low-lit grandma’s parlor that it is today. I expect a similar sedimentary process to occur in its new lobe. I just wish they hadn’t moved my favorite chair into it before they got the lighting spot on.


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