Mugshots Coffeehouse & Juicebar

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Approaching Mugshots by bike from Center City, one is obliged to trek up ‘Fairmount Hill,’ as my colleague has recently dubbed that mound of residential rock which is capped by the Eastern State Penitentiary. I cycled up there one day late last spring–greeted by the prison’s looming turrets and crenelated crest, my mind began to wander to thoughts of battlements, the neo-post-neo Gothic as a Platonic ideal, and . . . bacon. Yes: This overwhelming waft of swine, as I was soon to learn, was emanating from none other than Mugshots. In this quaint Philadelphia prison neighborhood, it is apparently customary on Sunday morns to ‘perfume’ the streets with the scent of bubbling lard. How nice, I might have thought, if I were inclined toward lard, schmaltz, and the like. As it were, I am not. And yet I persevered–giving the prison one last squinty-eyed glance, I proceeded to boost my sickened viscera with a dose of prophylactic adrenaline, and then dragged my sorry form into Mugshots, fixed to receive my punishment.

Mugshots Coffeehouse

Upon entering the cafe, other concerns rapidly overtook bacon anxieties, for, as the old adage goes, ‘where pork doeth fry, greasy hands do lie’ (in this case, many small hands bearing sesame seeds and uncapped markers). Faced with a barrage of yelping mini-people wrapped, snapped, and strung with mini-things, I thought to myself, Why do the multitudes of parents who tote their young charges (aged 0 – ?) to coffee shops like Mugs expect other patrons to obligingly ‘enjoy’ the screams and antics of said parents’ little monkeys? When I go to a cafe, I don’t inflict screeches, loudly-belted songs, and/or the pawing of grimy hands upon others; why should I have to put up with the same from some tot, just because tot’s mom thought it would be nice to meet up with Susie and Joan, post-workout, for a decaf white chocolate raspberry double cappuccino (hold the espresso)? Whereas at one time one could relish a quiet Sunday morning mug at the corner cafe, the once-peaceful coffee joint appears to have fallen victim today to the demands of our children-centered culture.

Eastern State Penitentiary

It seems the kids are destined to be the ultimate victors: It is nearly impossible to get a decent cafe past 10pm in this city, presumably because coffee shop proprietors figure their primary target customers (i.e. kiddies) are in bed by then. Nevertheless, I still dream that some day the penitentiary will re-open, to operate as a rehabilitative center providing solitude and discipline for the unwieldy youths. Should this occur, you will find me sitting solo at a café table across the street, sipping a black coffee while savoring a comfortable silence.

Mugshots Coffeehouse is a member of Philadelphia’s Independents Coffee Cooperative.

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Mugshots Coffeehouse & Juicebar

2100 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130

3 Responses to “Mugshots Coffeehouse & Juicebar”

  1. bernadette

    if you are going to review a cafe, it is one thing to include the atmosphere as part of your overall judgment, but it’s not right to base your review almost solely on the atmosphere. the atmosphere of mugshots reflects that of the neighborhood. fairmount is a family neighborhood. therefore there are bound to be small children in the one place in that area that serves breakfast and isn’t a diner nor a bar. i don’t have kids, nor do i actually ever want them, but the baby population of mugshots doesn’t bother me because i know my neighbors and i like them.

  2. Megan

    Your tone is nauseatingly affected. For god’s sake, give your thesaurus a break. We all know there’s a lot of synonyms in English but there’s no race to use them all in a single blog entry. The whole spiel sounds like you’re trying really hard to sound intellectual and it just comes off as forced and smug. There’s a difference between witty and smug.
    Also, despite being a vegan, the smell of bacon doesn’t bother me. Regardless if it did, the very reason I like mugshots is because they have so many vegan menu items. I haven’t been to any other coffee shop in Philly that offers soy cream cheese–and you know how us east-coasters rely on bagels and cream cheese.
    And dude, suck it up, kids exist. Catch up with the Enlightenment. I suspect you’re trying to be cute or flip but it’s very common yet absurd to expect a toddler to follow the same social etiquette you do. Hopefully one day we can sync the womb up to bluetooth and upload Emily Post to the fetuses. For now, maybe you can kind of realize that you’re not the center of the world and expecting the world to cater to you is not very adult behavior. I mean, you’ve pretty much just recorded a temper tantrum with a bunch of grown-up words. Get over yourself. I don’t have kids but I actually used to be one so I don’t see how you can begrudge another person for being a child.

  3. Anonymous

    was it the mention of ‘schmaltz’ that pushed you over the edge? i contemplated using ‘greasy chicken fat dregs’ in its place, but i thought ‘schmaltz’ the more economical choice. don’t you agree?

    and i can appreciate your taste for bacon fumes. i used to frequent a coffee shop in pittsburgh that doubled as a slaughterhouse. the stench of blood and flesh didn’t bother me, either! but i stopped going there because they wouldn’t carry the brand of soymilk i preferred.

    i also feel obliged to point out to you that my complaint regarding the ‘youth of today’ was not directed at the children themselves; rather my intention was to direct my frustration at the parents. is it really too much to ask that we all learn to respect for others’ cafe spaces?

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