The return of coffee talk and open mic nights

by Molly Welby
Posted 8/27/21

The Germantown Espresso Bar reopened June 21st with outdoor seating and indoor ordering for the first time since November of 2020.

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The return of coffee talk and open mic nights

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The Germantown Espresso Bar reopened June 21st with outdoor seating and indoor ordering for the first time since November of 2020.

Their first open mic since the reopening was held in July. The event was outside and primarily acoustic and unamplified, relying solely on the voices of the performers. Butler says that each artist is allowed three songs or 15 minutes whether they use that time to play music, present poetry or to share from the heart. The open mics will continue on every second and fourth Thursday into the fall and will likely move inside during the colder months.

Inspired by the selflessness and generosity of their neighbors, Miles Butler, the co-founder and operations manager of the Espresso Bar, alongside Jeff Podlogar and the four other co-owners, began Many Hands Coffee Company, their own coffee-roasting endeavor. The company's coffee trailer is currently stationed at Love Park. During their shutdown, they only did mail order: pounds of beans, bottles of cold brew, store merchandise, and a few pieces of art by the staff. If a customer indicated in their order that they lived in the neighborhood, the order would be hand-delivered.

While serving and roasting the most ethically and sustainably-sourced coffee they can is the basis of their business, they also donate a percentage of their profits from wholesale partnerships to local nonprofits and mutual-aid funds.

The upstairs space at Germantown Espresso hosts many activist events for these organizations, including political coffee hours, round tables and community gatherings. Some of the issues that have already been brought to the table include natural gas processing, the dangers of gentrification and predatory homebuying, “helping people to have that awareness and not making any assumptions and not thinking that we know better but just building space for deep listening,” Butler said.

Germantown Espresso will be collaborating with the Imperfect Gallery on a series of Full Moon outdoor concerts. The August 22nd concert was rained out. Events will take place on the green space across from the gallery. All who attend are encouraged to bring their own blanket, chair or hammock to hang out on.

The Covid-19 pandemic, alongside the disruptive $3.5 million renovations on Maplewood Mall, which began in October of 2019, forced them to shut down from March to early August of 2020, according to Butler.

Renovations on the mall included improvements on the brick buildings and the sewage and electrical systems, given that there was low visibility at night and the cobblestone sidewalks were haphazardly, especially to those with mobility issues, according to Butler.

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