My buddy and I don't ask for much. We want comfortable seating, good espresso drinks, a decent selection of loose tea, and a quieter atmosphere suitable for conversation. Cafe Brosseau fits the bill.
The roomy cafe on busy 21st St. has two window-lined walls, varied seating from tables to booths, the morning paper waiting to be read, a decent, alternative selection of paperbacks, a fabulous assortment of table games, and art displayed and for sale by local artists.
The servers take your orders and then deliver the drinks to your table. The service runs from leisurely to slow, depending on the crowd. Nice mixture of University and neighborhood clientele. The music is a local radio station that they will turn down if you are the only people in there. (HATE the cafe muzak. Thank you, Starbucks!)
Besides the standard java and joe, they have a nice selection of organic drinks, wonderful gluten-free, vegan, standard-decadent pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and a "keep it real" staff.
My only caveat has to do with the faux-leather sofa in the NE corner. It looks comfortable, but will swallow anyone reckless enough to sit there. Small children and cats, beware!
Brosseau is an authentic alternative to the chains of chain coffee shops. Check it out!