Finding the perfect blend: Mugs Cafe

“Neither coffee nor the coffeehouse is the heart’s behest. The heart seeks friendship; coffee is the pretext.” – Turkish saying

There’s a lot of research out there about the pros and cons of working from a coffee shop, but here’s what it boils down to: are you a dog or cat person?

Dog person: “Hello! Who are you? What’s your name? I love your sweater! Let’s be friends.”

Cat person: “I want to be here, I want to be near you, but don’t touch my stuff. And…don’t look at me.”

mugs cafe @kjlemaster
Photo by Kathryn LeMaster (@kjlemaster)

That may be oversimplifying, but it’s true. Some people thrive in a constantly changing environment in which new people means more potential for great things to happen. Other people love coffee shops because they can hole up in a corner with ambient music and a laptop for several blissfully undisturbed hours. Achieving an environment that perfectly balances connection and solitude is a difficult feat, but most will agree that Mugs Café in North Little Rock’s Argenta District has succeeded.

“We see it every day. From Instagram meet-ups to architects and real estate moguls hatching plans; from visual artists collaborating to students studying,” says Michael Carpenter, who owns Mugs Café with wife Amanda. “We actually wish we could capture the stories of all the ideas that have been hatched and deals struck in our space.”

mugs cafe
2013 Little Rock Instameet

And there are plenty. Few local places allow you to gather and collaborate (efficiently) outside of the office. And why wouldn’t you just use that nice big conference room at the office or Skype from your cozy couch? Because sometimes loosening the reins equals creativity and new opportunities. Just try sharing a table with strangers, for a change.

“While ‘community’ is an over-used term these days, communal tables do just that – create space for community to happen,” Carpenter says. “The coffee and food we serve is simply the curator.”

In January, Mugs Cafe will be one of the competing restaurants raising donations for the Arkansas Foodbank in the “North Little Rock Dine Off” challenge, as part of North Little Rock Restaurant Month.

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