Heavily influencing European cultures, the Dutch Parisians, and Venetians in particular, the first coffeehouses as we understand them today began cropping up in the Netherlands. Offering more than just a place to sit and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, the coffeehouse offered a neutral location for socializing, discussion, innovation, and even dissent. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg describes the concept of the “third place” as a meeting place other than the home or workplace that remains accessible to all, regardless of status.
Third place locations often include other familiar settings like bars and public parks, even barber shops take on this role in some communities. What we get from the third place is a setting that’s focused on building and maintaining community, conversations, and important interactions. In 1792, the Tontine Coffee House in New York City served as the birthplace for the New York Stock
Exchange; decades later and hundreds of miles away, the all-American cocktail the Sazerac was named for its coffee shop home, the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans.
In pop culture, we see the reflection on our need for a third place. Up until the early/mid-1990s, the third place of media choice was a bar; sitcom favorites like Cheers took place almost entirely within a bar. But as times changes, and coffee obsession began to take on a local mood, our favorite characters started spending their time at coffee shops instead.