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S-003. Three Brothers Coffee – Nashville, TN

A few food staples, an extensive list of drinks, some t-shirts, and an attachment to Cumberland Transit may seem all Three Brothers Coffee can offer. However, glance again and you’ll find interesting art, well-crafted crannies, and a deep connection to the Nashville spirit.

Cumberland Transit is an outdoors company based in Tennessee serving people with active lifestyles. Cumberland Transit birthed Three Brothers to bring coffee to their customers and this connection between the stores has informed the atmosphere in the cafe. Bikes are hoisted on walls, a hammock chair swings in the corner, hiking guides sit next to biking books on rough-hewn wooden shelves, and almost every art exhibit has some nod to nature.

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The current art spotlight: acrylic paint on small wood pieces with a working clock face. Arranged in circular clumps on the white walls, the clocks tick in unison over the Nashville locals hunched over laptops and notepads.

These exhibits rotate every month or so, following the waiting list of local artists whose works the store managers have approved. Prices and buyer contact information are posted on the walls alongside the art. Featuring art has become a standard practice for cafes—the store gets decorations and the artist free advertisement – and the Three Brother’s setup follows suite. However, in a city filled with creative minds, this choice not only encourages future artists and collaborations but also reflects the Nashville spirit. Cafes such as Three Brothers have morphed simply from a place for people to imbibe caffeine into a hub for interaction and inspiration.

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Perhaps the most standout feature of the shop is the outside nook. As you turn left to open the door, an alcove of white brick walls covered with black symbols confronts you, causing many to stop and take pictures before walking into the store. This room mural by DCXV, the same artist who hatched the iconic “I Believe in Nashville” design, is comprised of hasty almost-symbols, a confusing cascade of association that earns its title, “Hieroglitches.”

It was in this room I had sat in for only half an hour, warming my hands with a matcha tea latte, when a stranger politely tapped me on the shoulder and asked if the space could be used for shooting a scene in a short movie. I relocated to the leather couch and marble octagonal table of a corner room. The art continues.

– Sydney P. (Vanderbilt University)

Featured images: Three Brothers Coffee – Nashville, TN

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