Swerve Coffee Lounge and Indie Pop Cool Treats

Apparently, Austin has an unshakeable thirst for coffee and an equally insatiable thirst for all things hip

Swerve Coffee Lounge

2310 S. Lamar, 444-1000

Monday-Friday, 7:30am-7pm; Saturday, 9am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-7pm

Indie Pop Cool Treats

2310 S. Lamar, 804-0480

Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 1-9pm

Apparently, Austin has an unslakeable thirst for coffee and an equally insatiable thirst for all things hip. To ameliorate the situation (for it is impossible to satisfy completely) two joints have opened on South Lamar. Swerve keeps things hot with java options and Indie Pop takes care of the cool options with a variety of gelatos and sorbettos.

South Congress Avenue was well on its way to revitalization when the San José reopened in all its sleek hipness. The last vestige of the avenue's former identity was gone when Just Guns closed and über-cool FactoryPeople opened in the space. Let this be a warning to residents of the South Lamar area: The advance of coolness in your neighborhood is unstoppable. The signs were there long before Indie Pop and Swerve opened, but their arrival seals its fate.

And it's not a bad fate. There are worse things than to have first-rate coffee and frozen treats in your 'hood. At Swerve, the caffeine jolt is augmented by the pop art ambience. Edie Sedgwick would feel right at home amid the bold colors, Euro-sleek sofas, and magazines with titles so cool and obscure that if you don't know 'em, you don't pass the hip test. And don't think you can flip through them and get a Cliffs Notes lesson in popular culture, either: They are for purchase only, as several signs admonish customers. Smoothies, the requisite chai drinks, and a small selection of muffins and power bars supplement the coffee options, but really, who wants crumbs all over themselves when they're picture-perfectly ensconced in a haven of ironic cool?

Next door at Indie Pop, the mood is, well ... cooler. Not in the sense that it tries to outhip Swerve, but the frozen confections offered there indicate a more fun and frivolous atmosphere. The gelatos and sorbettos come courtesy of Dolce Vita north of the river, so the quality of the goods has long been established. But while the ambience at Dolce Vita suggests vaguely European accents and mysterious dark glasses, Indie Pop says "Austin Powers, baby!" Here, too, smoothies round out the menu.

Indie Pop and Swerve share an outdoor space in the back as well as sensibilities. The retreat obscures the traffic of South Lamar and keeps the Sixties hip thing going with corrugated metal, geometric tables, chairs, and the like. And despite the unrelenting traffic out front, the back really does provide an oasis from the exhaust – as well as another spot to cultivate your cool.

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