1.5 miles from “Major” – the heart of downtown Durham
721 Broad St., Durham 27705
Hours: Mon-Sun 7AM to 7 PM
The Vibe: Serene, peaceful, cerebral tranquil
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 @ 11:15 AM
“Coffee. Plants. Pastry.” This is the slogan on the website of this distinctive café that is a newcomer to the Durham coffee scene (recently opened summer of ’19).
Like the Cocoa Cinnamon Old North Durham coffee shop, Cloche is a gem of a destination. But it’s a gem of a different hue. Whitewashed walls adorned with interesting knickknacks, accents of natural wood parquet, and countless green plants – hanging from the ceiling, in the windows, and on the walls – define the hue. A well balanced design of the elements creates a relaxing, serene, and almost spiritual setting.
Cloche is located in the American Dance Festival building. A modern building clad in metal with a large, tilted glass façade. The glass creates a clean, well-lit atmosphere. Perhaps this is the inspiration behind the coffee shops name. Cloche (pronounced ‘cl-O-shh’ with a hard ‘O’ and French for bell) is a bell-shaped glass covering placed over plants to protect them from frostbite and encourage their growth.
This self-awareness transfers to Cloche’s attention to details in the small, physical space it has to work with. The café is an L-shape. The counter and main sitting area (with 5 two-tops and 5 window-bar seats) form the larger, longer section of the “L”. A more narrow, shorter section of the “L” that seats 8, almost all bar-top seating. Most of the patrons here today appear to be college students. Cloche is located just across from Duke’s East Campus on Broad Street. However, there also appears to be local residents who pop in for a coffee.
Today, if you wanted a quiet, serene, café experience, this is the place to be. There or 6 or so people in the shop. But, there is no sound at all except for the music from the speakers. Everyone focuses on what they are doing. Electronic, synth- and trip-hop tunes by the Internet, Phoenix, Oddisee, Joey Pecorano and other similarly sounding artists plays in the background. Cloche serves Larry’s Coffee. They also sell pastries from Ninth Street Bakery. And, many of the plants that adorn the shop are for sale.
A pleasant, tree-shaded patio sits off to the side of the café. Today is too hot to enjoy it, however. According to their event calendar, the patio hosts yoga and fitness classes as well as other activities, like plant potting and live music. The events have a strong yoga bent, which based on the vibe of the café isn’t surprising. In the vein of self-awareness, yoga’s themes of spirituality, asceticism, discipline, meditation, health, and relaxation are prominent. Which, again, is consistent with another of Cloche’s slogan’s – “Good Energy, Great Coffee”!
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