As its name implies, Biddle's Escape, a new coffee shop in Regent Square, is as much about getting away as getting a latte.
Occupying a purple and yellow building at the corner of Biddle and South Trenton avenues, its front porch is nestled among lush trees. Inside, the vibrantly painted walls are festooned with décor that shows off the global sensibilities of owner Joe Davis. The space is decorated with artifacts from the 86 countries he has visited.
But at its heart, Biddle's is a coffee shop, and offers a full menu of standard java beverages. Davis currently uses beans from Commonplace Coffeehouse and Roastery, but plans to visit small bean farms in Costa Rica and El Salvador to purchase them himself. "It'll be true direct and fair trade," he says.
The most unique drink on the menu, the brainchild of barista and unofficial manager Brian Lassige, is called a szegedi kávé. It's an Hungarian-inspired drink comprising two shots of espresso, two shots of steamed half-and-half, maple-tinged cinnamon sugar and whipped cream.
The shop will eventually sell baked goods, and currently hosts a weekly African drum circle. It also houses Davis's bead store, formerly of South Craig Street, in Oakland.
Davis explains he got into the coffee business to connect with the neighborhood and to create a space where people could come together.
"Coffee is a lot of fun," he says. "It makes a community. It creates an atmosphere."