I've been living in the 78704 area code for almost three years now, and I absolutely love Flipnotics on Barton Springs. I usually get their New Orleans-style coffee which is a nice, spicy chicory-flavored coffee that isn't overpowering but satisfies. Their Frappes are delicious too... I usually get the vanilla-flavored one during the Summer, and it's pretty much a vanilla coffee-flavored milkshake with QUITE the caffeine boost. The service is hip and nonchalant, but is always very helpful and unpretentious. The outdoor deck offers free wireless and is great for studying. They opened up a new location in the Triangle late this summer, but I haven't been to it yet... I imagine it's much newer and lacks the severe eclectic feel that the Barton Springs location has.
It's a truly LOCAL Austin coffeehouse and the owners are wonderful people. I'm happy to see that they're still going strong (15 years) even after the Austin Java parasite set root across the street, and that the people who are truly local don't go to the dark side! (lol)!
The only downside is that their light fare (sandwiches, salads, ect.) can be a tad pricey, but their wide variety of samosas (which are outsourced) are a great cheap alternative for a quick bite.
Anyone else have thoughts on this place?
I actually used to work in the Flipnotics family of coffee shops and restaurants when I was in high school, so you may take my opinions with a grain of salt (although I think they are pretty accurate).
The original Flipnotics is one of my favorite coffee shops with a deck/patio. The coffee and drinks are consistently good, but I wouldn't say the best in town. What I really like is the laid back attitude of both the employees and the patrons. The deck is great for reading/studing outside when the weather is nice, and the biggest plus is it doesn't border a busy road since it's on the back side of the building. Sitting on a patio with noisy cars and exhaust is one of my biggest complaints about coffee shops. I also like that it's covered so you can still see your computer screen when the sun is shining.
I agree that the food selection isn't worth a special trip. It's fairly limited and can be pricey, but what I've had has always been tasty. I generally only buy food there when I want a small snack or I'm going to be there a while during a meal. The more "exotic" selections, such as the samosas, are purchased from local producers, and the sandwiches similar selections are brought in from Flip's Satellite Cafe (or at least it was when I worked there), their restaurant at the Y in Oak Hill.
I’ve only been to the location in the Triangle once, and it was fairly soon after it opened back in the spring. Its location causes it to lose a little of the charm of the original location, but it manages to keep some of it with an interesting Austin based collage. I’m interested how other people’s experiences have been with this location.
I've been to the triangle location - there is a wall mural that's actually and old photograph of Barton Springs. It's pretty cool to look over. Also, there's a patio outside with a few tables and a little pool right outside the back door. Not sure if it is legal to swim in there if you don't live in the apts., but I do it anyway and there's been no trouble.
They are really good at booking quality music - they don't have just anyone playing. I've seen this at the old location for years, and a couple of times at the new.. Also, they will gladly dump a shot of espresso into your Guiness.