April 23, 2019 | 61° F

Things we want to see at the new Hidden Grounds


We’ve all seen it in every show on television. Every squad from back in the day always met at their neighborhood’s coffee shop/diner to catch up on life. There was Tom’s Restaurant in "Seinfeld," Central Perk in "Friends," and on "Lizzie McGuire," the “ultra hip” Digital Bean. While the "How I Met Your Mother" crew met for beers instead of lattes, they still made MacLaren’s Pub the spot to dish out all of life’s major problems, find ways to solve them and to still have time to make fun of each other. It’s just tradition.

Rutgers has been known for its ways of carrying on traditions. There’s $2 Tuesdays, karaoke Wednesdays, thirsty Thursdays and so on. We’re a school that thrives on our sense of community — and the fact that we know every bouncer and bartender at every bar. We’re not only into alcohol, we’re also extreme coffee drinkers. How else are we going to balance late nights out with early morning classes? Exercise, plenty of sleep and healthy eating habits? That’s unheard of. That’s why Hidden Grounds on Easton Avenue has become the greatest escape for all things zen. The rustic interior, calming music and endless list of coffee — whether it’s pour overs, lattes or espresso, as well as herbal teas and tons of food, will turn even the anti-hipster into an HG addict.

Inside Beat has always been a fan of HG and would even go as far as saying that the original location will always hold a special place in our hearts. It is our savior during late nights at the office when we have pressing deadlines. Now that they’re opening up a new location, we can’t help but wonder how a second can be even better than the first — shout out to all those older siblings out there. So, we went ahead and complied a list of a few new additions we’d love to see at the new Hidden Grounds. Or, as I’d like to call it, Hidden Grounds 2.0.

Stage for Events

HG is always holding different types of events, whether it’s cocktail events, latte art courses or various other workshops. They’re always looking to support local businesses and expose students to experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have access to, while also expanding their interests. One of their most popular events would be their open mic nights, giving students the platform to showcase their comedic, musical and poetic talents. An actual stage would not only amplify the performance, but would allow more space for an even bigger audience. While most of our local music scene resides in basements, this would give them the opportunity to branch out and gather new fans and audiences. It would also make those performing feel a little more … what’s the word? Ah, “legit.”         

Couches/Bean Bag Chairs

Even if you’re not an avid and obsessive compulsive "Friends" fan, you can’t say that you have no idea what I’m talking about when I describe that giant couch they always sat on at Central Perk. While we don’t expect it to be empty every single time our friend groups roll through, a couch would add to the warm feel that Hidden Grounds already does a great job of emphasizing. It’s a place where people can truly unwind by cozying up with their laptops or a book and hopefully not fall asleep. With more furniture, HG can continue to be the destination study spot where we feel safe from the crowded, dull and dim libraries. Also, bean bags are just the classic interior design twist, transporting us back to a more simpler time: the 90s.

Zine Stand/Apparel/Accessories Stand

Just as much as they love supporting local bands, Hidden Grounds also holds events for local artists and designers to show off their creations by holding events and pop-up shops. Since not everyone is always able to skip class — although you should for these — it would be great to see a section of the coffee shop dedicated to art work, apparel and accessories that have been sold at past events. A zine and library stand would also be a great addition, giving both avid readers and potentially new fans a chance to delve into the world that is full of independent art. Creators can also spread their messages to an even broader audience.

Board Games/Tables

Connect Four, Guess Who?, Chess, Checkers, Jenga, you get the idea. HG is the type of place where you actually want to turn your phone and electronics off for a few hours and just enjoy the moment. What better way to pass free time than ditching social media stalking for a board game, and to actually get your brain thinking rather than blankly staring into a screen. We’d love to see a special little area dedicated strictly for board games dating back to basically when Milton Bradley invented Monopoly. It’s the old-school, genuinely fun way to hang out and to relive some competition that doesn’t involve getting more likes on an Instagram photo. It would also encourage people to even bring their own and make new friends along the way.

We don’t expect Hidden Grounds to make a blueprint of these ideas — although it wouldn’t hurt — but it gives us something to think about while we await the reveal and grand opening of the second location. Regardless of what’s added or stays the same, we’re just excited for another snug spot at Rutgers that constantly inspires young minds to follow their artistic passions, supports local talent and brews a cup of coffee that will warm even the darkest of souls. 

Brenda Stolyar

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