Tuesday 4 May 2010

Café Moda - Rathmines

It would be wrong to say I have a love-hate relationship with Moda. Hate is a very strong word and should be used far less than it typically is. Love is an even stronger word. You can decide for yourself whether you think it should be used more or less often. Instead, I think I’ll refer to my relationship with Moda as like-dislike. There are times when the service is appalling – I’ve been known to sit around for 15 or 20 mins waiting for someone to take my order – and the coffee has been awful – I’ve sent coffee back because it was clearly too cold, and I’ve also burnt my tongue on too may occasions. However, there are times when the staff is friendly and helpful and the coffee served has been pretty good. But my feelings for Moda actually go beyond coffee.

This coffeehouse, located on the main Rathmines Road next to the long abandoned fire station and across from the majestic looking library (but don't judge a book by its cover), was one of the first places I visited when arriving in Rathmines almost seven years ago. Right from the start I was drawn to its atmosphere – subdued lighting, original artwork, some interesting tunes, the cosmopolitan mix of guests discussing interesting topics, a sense of the spiritual, and (back then) the distant waft of cigarettes coming from the smoking room. The clincher for me was the fact that the café opened early in the morning and continued to serve coffee until way past midnight. Unfortunately it now closes around 10pm, which is better than most cafes, but no longer provides the late night alternative to the pub. In fact, I have a feeling that it’s lucky to be open that late at all. Back when Ireland suddenly realised it no longer had money it looked like Moda may have had to cut right back to solely being a daytime café. What a shame that would have been.

This was highlighted for me this evening, as I sat in a fairly quite Moda, reading The Well-Connected Community by Alison Gilchrist, and was reminded of the phrase ‘third space’ – “an accessible and accommodating place that feels like a home away from home where there are neither guests nor hosts, simply regular users who share the space and engage with one another as and when they choose.”

You see, Moda gives more than good/bad coffee, cream cheese and bacon bagels, and the simple but delicious toasted scones. It provides a much needed space in Rathmines for the community to connect – something that is badly lacking in this area and a topic for which I have a particular passion.

So, God bless Moda and long may its doors stay open. May it be a space for friends to laugh, cry, whisper, shout, argue, play, share wisdom, break up, kiss, or be silent together until late in to the night.

(With just a little more attention to the way the coffee is served, please.)


Snot Head said...

This sounds charming. I believe our book store 30 miles away is somewhat like this, though they too used to be open later. With the down turn of the American economy, and now the World economy, they started closing their doors earlier. There are times (like just last week, for example) that the baristas gossip very loudly about their personal lives and their work lives alike. There are times they chat easily with you, and then there are even times when my husband and I's favorite barista works and we get to catch up with a not-so-old friend. The ambiance keeps us coming back, though, even when our drinks are occassionally wrong or even terrible. When they get it right, they can serve the best mocha I have ever tasted. Its nice to have a "third space." (Though that phrase is entirely new to me.)

Nicoley said...

Ooh I like Moda, I agree it has a great atmosphere. I don't go there too often though. Last time I was there I had a 3 hour catch up with a friend in the small downstairs room until they started clearing away all the chairs around us, and we only bought 1 coffee each, so it was nice of them to let us stay.

Ali said...

missing your blogging :-)

Cosmo said...

Thanks Ali. That's nice of you. I guess a little bit of me has been missing it too. I'll try and get back in to it...

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Dublin this was my absolute FAV place, nothing beats it. Miss it loads, great in all ways.

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