If you want to read, do some work, or simply hang out and people-watch, Max Cafe in Amsterdam Avenue is the place to go. Nestled in a row of fast food outlets and unprepossessing from the outside, you step into a miraculous oasis of calm after the buses and sirens outside. It is full of warm colours and exposed brick and pipework. The armchairs, sofas and wooden flooring create a shabby retro feel, with large mirrors on the wall and windows looking onto Amsterdam.
If you are lucky you will get a window seat, like I have today, and it will be yours as long as you have some coffee in your cup. No hurry to move on in Max’s. You can order breakfast, lunch or just a drink and you will be welcomed equally. The inoffensive mix of music (today Sting, the Bee Gees, Roy Orbison) is played at just the right volume. The clientele is eclectic: a couple sitting knee to knee on what might be their first date . A young guy with a Henry IV fringe describes his take on Christianity to three international students. A couple of older women are talking animatedly over a laptop screen. The buzz is enough to create an atmosphere without distracting from your purpose.
This morning I have spent three productive hours at work and play. I really must come more often.