“Please Stop Laughing” at my hearing loss.

Everyone and their, well, mama knows about Dear Mama. Located next to The Forum and the climbing gym, it’s an iconic and convenient spot for film majors, rock climbing enthusiasts, and coffee enjoyers alike. Despite knowing about the café for a while, it wasn’t until this summer that I decided to visit for the first time, after realizing that my summer dorm 121 was technically closer to Dear Mama than Hungarian. 

On 129th and Broadway, Dear Mama is the perfect distance away from campus to give me some space from the stress of a Barnumbia library, while still being close enough to not feel like a trek. I never have to worry about finding a seat, because Dear Mama has an excellent amount of seating and varying table sizes (it’s important!), depending on whether it’s a “spread out all my books and papers” kind of day, or a typing only on my laptop kind of day. And, imagine my delight upon arriving for my first ever visit, that my computer automatically connected to the Columbia wifi! As someone eternally terrified of interacting with strangers more than I have to, not having to ask for the password was a small blessing. 

Their coffee, while it might be expensive, comes in a variety of delicious flavors made by friendly baristas who truly care about the coffee craft. I may not consider myself a coffee snob, but I have plenty of friends who do, so I’ve gotten pretty good at telling the difference between a good cup of coffee and a bad one. Especially compared to… shudder… Joe Coffee, Dear Mama knows what it’s doing, combining fun and seasonal flavors with a high quality grind (this is what coffee snobs sound like, right?). My personal fall favorite is their “Please Stop Laughing,” or PSL. If you’re interested in trying something new, I recommend their signature Cold Brew & Tonic for a strong and unique flavor. 

However, Dear Mama does have one fatal flaw, something I can’t help but notice every time I enter, and that is the music that is truly blasting from their speakers. It’s not that it’s bad music, necessarily, but even my favorite Lorde song playing at 150 decibels can be a little distracting, to say the least. And when the music is not exactly my current vibe, that’s when things get even worse. My AirPods playing music even at the highest volume are still not quite enough to drown out the Britney Spears song thumping over the speakers. We all love Britney Spears, but “…Baby One More Time” is not the most appropriate soundtrack to my essay on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Idiot

Is everything else worth enduring the extremely loud music? As I walk up Broadway for my weekly writing session at Dear Mama while typing this on my phone, I’d have to say yes. But to my friends who are tired of me asking them to repeat what they say all the time, well, you only have one establishment to blame. 

Dear Mama via Columbia Facilities and Operations