Lattes and Love: The Underground Coffeehouse

There is something inherently intimate about curling up with a good friend on a comfy couch and talking for hours about everything and nothing.

Students gather at the Underground Coffeehouse for a free concert.

Hidden on the campus of Western Washington University, a liberal arts college in Bellingham, Washington, is a small coffeehouse on the third floor of the Viking Union. It’s called the Underground Coffeehouse. It’s filled with couches, and armchairs, and tables. Its walls are a warm, comforting red, and the wall of windows both let in a bunch of natural light (when the weather isn’t grey and rainy that is) and gives every customer a magnificent view of Bellingham Bay. The quiet music playing in the background keeps the room from becoming eerily quiet, since there usually isn’t a lot of conversation during the day.

Despite the fact that this coffeehouse is a wonderful place to study, relax, or get a coffee with a friend, it still has its faults. Even though the couches and armchairs are supremely comfortable, I’d imagine that they might be a little difficult to clean, which could lead to some health problems down the road. Also, this is kind of a small space, so when the Underground hosts events, like open mic night on Tuesdays, it gets very crowded, very quickly. It’s not necessarily a huge issue, but that many people being in that small of a space can get hot and, — let’s face it, smelly — in just a short amount of time. Along with a startling lack of space, the Underground also has a surprising lack of advertising around campus and online. Despite the fact that it tends to be a favorite of those that regularly attend there, it is still pretty unknown to students that have never been there.

When I go to this coffee house, I’m usually there to attend the open mic nights or concerts series provided by the Associated Students of WWU. On those nights, you will be hard pressed to find an open seat in the room. I have never been disappointed in the performers I’ve seen, and there have been quite a few. The best part is that all of the performers are local, and many are students. However, I’m certainly not the person who uses the Underground. There’s frequently other students who go there to study since it’s pretty quiet there on a typical basis. I actually overheard two fellow students having a deep, religious conversation while I was there once. It just goes to show that this truly is a versatile place that welcomes and accepts all types of people.

Truth be told, the Underground Coffeehouse reminds me a lot of Central Perk from “FRIENDS”. It has a very similar aesthetic to it, and some days I can really just imagine Rachel Green or Joey Tribianni sitting on one of those ridiculously comfortable couches enjoying a coffee with their…well, friends as they laugh and gossip about their love lives. Or as they watch each other grow into these more mature, worldly people.

If you’re ever visiting WWU and are in need of a aesthetic place to put your feet up as you sit in a couch that has just the perfect amount of give to it, or a hot cup of coffee, go to the Underground Coffeehouse. This place is the kind of place that sucks you in and makes you never want to leave. The staff is always friendly and the students even more so. You will never feel like an outcast here, even if you’re alone.

In the future, I hope to see this wonderful place receive the attention it deserves. My greatest wish for the Underground is that one day I’ll walk in and see tons of people there enjoying the atmosphere and coffee provided by this small on-campus coffee shop!

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