The Coffeehouse Chronicles
Gaby & Mo's
Address/Phone: 1809 Manor/ 457-9027
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-midnight; Sat, 10am-midnight; Sun, 10am-10pm
Munchables: Bakery goods, sandwiches, soups, salads, rotating blue plate lunches
Standard Cup o' Joe: $1.35 (with 1 refill)
Bean Source: Los Armadillos (local)
Crowd: Neighborhood students, moonlighting writers
Artwork: Showings by local artists
Soundtrack: Tori Amos, Choirgirl Hotel
Bonus Points: Fresh-baked breads, infectious friendliness, big yellow recliner
The Room: Agoraphobes need not apply. The feeling in this newly-resurrected cafe is all about wide open spaces, thanks to its plentiful picture windows and big streetside deck area. On any given night, you can find the outdoor seating area packed with contented patrons -- girl groups drinking beer and French Place locals flipping through the local news -- soaking up the consistently friendly atmosphere.
Inside, the room is all brightly mellow celadon walls and paint-stenciled linoleum floors. Tables scattered around the upper area give unobstructed sight lines for protracted sessions of people watching and an "up-close and personal" view of the cafe's stage, which hosts a range of poetry readings, open mikes, and assorted live performances. (Check the front window posters for current schedule.) A few steps down, the sunken lounge area is the more reflective area and home to the joint's huge yellow La-Z-Boy, a relaxing bonus seat worth jockeying for.
Since its recent opening, the cafe has garnered good buzz for its simple menu of home-cooked bakery items, which includes sandwiches on freshly baked house breads and substantial rotating lunch specials. They've also got a full lineup of hedonistic desserts and deep selection of beers. Name your indulgence; they've got you covered.
And on a subcultural note, Gaby & Mo's also won a well-deserved nod as "Best Chance at a new Chances" in 1999's Best of Austin competition. As a friend recently put it: "It's basically a girl's bar (pause) but it's very straight-friendly." All the ladies in the house say WOOOOOOO ...