“I’m writing the musical that’s going to change the world.” That’s the attitude you’ll find when you hike up the stairs to the Alley Cat, a favorite of Fort Collins residents and CSU students. As I walked through the door I found myself in a cafe packed to the brim with people, nearly all of whom were hard at work on some project or another. A collection of laptops was strewn across each of the tables, a couple of artists were hunched over their pads in the corner, and one man was busy strumming his guitar to himself.
This is just what I’ve come to expect from the Alley Cat: a bustling, yet somehow calming scene of creatives working on their various projects. And there’s no question why this is such a popular hangout for artists. The aesthetic fits the mood; the entire cafe is decorated with a rotating collection of art done by local artists, even the ceiling is decorated with a different painting on each tile, and without fail there is always at least one musician quietly playing an instrument. When you’re surrounded by so much creative work, you can’t help but let your own creativity flow. It’s inspiring. And everybody believes that their work will be a masterpiece.
I ordered the Alley Cat’s specialty, a chai, today, and instantly realized the predicament I had put myself in. There wasn’t a single table open in the entire place. I wandered around for several minutes, no doubt looking very lost, before a friendly girl working on her laptop invited me to join her.
Finally, I get to sit and enjoy my drink. The flavor is rich and creamy with just the right amount of spice to compliment the tea, but not overpower its flavor. There’s a layer of foam on top so thick that I almost need a spoon to dig down to my drink, but it gives it a perfect creamy, yet light texture as the finishing touch and it’s a struggle not to just down the whole thing and run back for another. By no means do I consider myself an expert on chai, but I’d be hard-pressed to find another one that tasted so good.
If you’re not in the mood for coffee or tea, you can also get smoothies, shakes, breakfast foods or sandwiches, all available 24 hours a day. Still hungry after all that? Just take a trip back down the stairs to Dam Good Tacos and bring your food back up with you, both locations allow you to exchange food and let me just say, they’re not exaggerating when they say their tacos are “Dam Good,” but that’s a review for another time (and another segment.) Both establishments are located on Laurel St. between Mason St. and College Ave. in, you guessed it, the alley.
Overall I had a great experience here and will definitely be back for my next trip to Fort Collins. The drinks are amazing and I’ll be excited to try one of their famous sandwiches next time. My only advice is to take a minute to soak it all in and get the full experience, and learn from my mistake: be sure you can find a seat before you order!
Alleycat Coffee House
120 W Laurel St, Fort Collins, CO 80524