If you ever felt forced to buy another cup of coffee just to be able to stay at a coffee shop and relax or work — one new “anti-café” is looking to relieve that stress.
The team behind the startup company Reasonance International has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the concept of the “anti-café” to New York City through a shop called “TimeSquirrel” — making it the first of its kind in the country.
At an “anti-café” — made popular in several eastern European countries — customers pay for the time spent at the establishment and not for food or drinks.
Emil J. Ismayilov, one of the board members of Reasonance and partner behind the project, said the group thought New York would be the “perfect place” for this kind of café because of its large young and creative population.
“If you walk around New York, you see a lot of people spending a lot of time in cafes. People sit in cafes for four, five hours nonstop and they get one cup of coffee and after half an hour they feel uncomfortable without buying anything,” Ismayilov said. “This idea is totally different, you don’t have to purchase anything, you just have to purchase time.”
Although the group has yet to select a specific location, Ismayilov said they are looking at neighborhoods such as Williamsburg, Astoria in Queens, and some parts of Manhattan.
“It’s New York, there are so many people and so many students,” Ismayilov said. “We don’t have a specific area yet, but it has to be an area where there is a lot of young and creative people.”
The set up for the café is expected to have a “home or apartment style,” allowing customers to relax either by lying on a couch, sitting on the floor or getting together with other young professionals to collaborate at work stations.
There will also be a television people can enjoy and calm music playing, adding on to the “relaxing” atmosphere, Ismayilov said.
“TimeSquirrel” is also expected to feature an open kitchen where customers can take whatever they want, whenever they want. The menu will include coffee, a variety of teas, fresh cookies, snacks, and several kinds of sandwiches.
“If you come to this cafe, you have to feel like you’ve come home,” Ismayilov said.
The team is still working on the hourly rates, but say they will be affordable.
Although the Kickstarter hopes to raise some funds to bring the idea of the café to fruition, Ismayilov added that if the goal isn’t reached in time ,the plan is to still make “TimeSquirrel” happen – he hopes by next summer.
“The Kickstarter is just a platform where we can see how people will react to this, see people’s opinions,” Ismayilov said. “If the project does not reach the goal, it doesn’t mean it’s going to stop there.”