It can be hard to find a good hangout, especially for us underemployed creative types.
What you need is a place where, for the price of a few cups of coffee you can sit for hours and work on your laptop, or strum a guitar, if the mood should take you.
A good hangout is somewhere where it's quiet enough to work but busy enough to be sociable when you're in the mood.
The problem with this kind of model is how hard it has become for cafes, the usual locations for such ideal circumstances, to keep in business.
I've had several favorite coffee shop/tea rooms in my life, and most of them are closed now. My current favorite, and my "office" is Friendly Grounds in Flemington. The owners are cool and community-minded, the vibe is relaxed and the patron are generally friendly and respectful. It's a good place. Oh, and the wifi is free with your coffee.
Sadly, though, like everyone else, the owners of this fine establishment are struggling. When people tighten their belts, they tend to skimp on the little luxuries, such as coffee. The problem is, cafes are a nickel-and-dime business, and when people start pinching pennies it hurts these businesses pretty bad.
I worry about the future of my current home-away-from-home. I hope it survives this recession/depression/economic clusterf***, whatever you want to call it.
If it goes under, there isn't another place like it for miles. Ah... I wish I could come up with a good idea or two to make both the cafe and myself a few bucks!