CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Havana Internet Cafe
Every city centre has one particular street or area which tends to burst at the seams on sunny summer days. In Sheffield this is definitely Division Street, which stretches between Devonshire Green and the Peace Gardens. On one recent scorcher of a Saturday afternoon, as an antiwar concert and festival was in full swing on Devonshire Green, we sat by a window at the Havana Internet Cafe and watched the crowds of trendy and not-so-trendy pedestrians pass by. Located on the corner of Division and Carver -- across the street from two almost identical Italian restaurants -- this pleasantly coloured cafe features seven Internet terminals and a full cafe menu with plenty of vegetarian options. The falafels are apparently quite good, and they also offer breakfast, burgers, pancakes, regular and grilled panini sandwiches, wraps, pastries, a wide selection of Twinings teas, and LaVazza espresso drinks.
Our double macchiatos were served in oversized cafe-au-lait cups, which was an aesthetic disappointment. But at least we were provided with demitasse spoons, a rarity in this country. And fortunately when I ordered our drinks I spotted the jar of chocolate sprinkles next to the espresso machine, so I made a point of requesting no sprinkles on mine. Sadly our macchiatos were a bit scorched -- not volcanically hot on the tongue, mind you, but they tasted as if the ground beans had been burnt by overheated water. Other than that they were quite enjoyable -- and at £1.55 the price was pleasing as well.
The price for Internet access also seems reasonable: 15 minutes online for £1.00, which is long enough to quickly check your Hotmail if you're passing through town -- or one hour for £3.00. While we were there a couple of people were browsing the Internet, one woman was writing a letter, and a man in a vest and leather jacket was playing Internet chess with an unseen opponent. The Havana offers computer courses and services such as printing, copying, faxing, CV services, scanning, and laminating, and there is no need to book ahead for online time.
What attracted me most about the row of Internet terminals were the wiggly-pole frames around each terminal, stretching from the ceiling like giant aluminium spider legs. Aside from the fact that I've always been attracted to wiggly things, my partner and I were impressed by the fact that a certain amount of privacy for each terminal user could be created by such a minimalist construction. I suppose in this Internet-and-spam-driven world the simple concise solutions are often the best.