Your Take: Places to bring colleagues and clients

My post on places to bring colleagues and clients got a bunch of reaction on LinkedIn. I said Freedom of Espresso in Franklin Square, Edward Thomas, Alto Cinco, Al's and Burnet Park.

Here was the LinkedIn response. [Note: After I created this post, more comments were added, so they didn't make it. Be sure to check out the Linked Syracuse group for more!]

Links to some of these places:

Century Club
Kitty Hoynes
The Mission
Onondaga Lake Park
Tin Pan Galley [Warning: Music auto-plays]

5 Places to Bring Colleagues and Clients in the Syracuse Area

After my post last week about coffee shops to work at in the Syracuse area, Jill asked if I'd write a post about places to bring colleagues and clients:

So here we are.

1. Freedom of Espresso, Franklin Square. OK, this was on my coffee shop list, too, but that makes sense, right? I sort of use it as an office sometimes, and this Freedom store is convenient to downtown, but outside of the bustle. And did I mention there's a hot dog cart across the street at lunch time? Well, when the weather supports it, anyway.

2. Alto Cinco. Alto Cinco, for you non-Spanish speakers out there, translates literally to "high five." If you need another reason to bring a client or colleague, try it yourself first. The atmosphere is cozy (they've avoided expansion though they could easily fill a room three times that size), the food is really good, and if you need a wine recommendation, they're right there for you. Bonus: It's across the street from Recess so you can grab some joe or hot chocolate on your way out. No wifi at the restaurant, but it's a good spot for a meeting anyway.

3. Edward Thomas Cigar. OK, this is kind of a boys' club. As in I'm not really sure they'd know how to react if a woman walked in (any volunteers?). But Edward Thomas's new digs are pretty sweet. Most of the space is now members-only; really a ploy to let people bring in some booze. There's a non-member smoking lounge with a big TV. There's no alcohol allowed and the wifi is weak back there. The rest of the place, however, has a strong wifi signal and members can bring a cocktail and a guest or two. The space includes a large room with a dozen flat panel TVs and leather recliners; computer carrels; a conference room; a poker room; and a more open room with one of those coffee tables with a top that lifts toward you.

4. Al's Wine & Whiskey. Al's made my bars to work from post last week. Pull up one of the couches, or take over the pool table in the back room. If you tip your bartender, s/he might even surrender the back room remote control.

5. Burnet Park. Again, no wifi, but Burnet Park has a zoo, a golf course, a pool, a skating rink, a basketball court and softball fields, in addition to some open space. And if you feel the need for food and drink, both Nibsy's and Coleman's are within a few blocks.

5 bars to work from in Syracuse

Yesterday we did my favorite coffee shops to work from in the area. Well, it's Friday and you're ready to get your weekend on, so where can you get a good brew while finishing up for the week?

1. The Blue Tusk. OK, so the Tusk is over-priced, has consistently mediocre food and a staff that could care a little more. They have a great beer list, and a back room with two little counters that have electrical outlets and wifi from about six different places. There's almost never anybody back there, and even the bar staff will forget you're back there if you stick around long enough. Just don't get locked in!

2. Al's Wine & Whiskey. You kind of have to sneak around at Al's to snag some electricity, but the food is excellent, as are the happy hour specials. They keep a rotating selection of 20 bottles of wine available for $20 each, and if you don't finish it, they'll give you the rest in a to-go bag (for realz). They also have decent beers and a fair whiskey and fine spirits selection, as far as the local scene goes (check 'em out). The place is comfy, and they managed to get entirely rid of the cigar smell from when they allowed that kind of thing. Just watch out for your mouse – they kept the holes in the counter where the ashtrays were!

3. Empire Brewing. Empire probably gets the two biggest thumbs up for food and drink. But the basement location means poor reception for some cell phones, and there's not much electricity. I'd take the last remaining hour of your laptop battery here and plan to spend a few hours "finishing up."

4. The Limerick. Terrible website aside, the Limerick is much bigger and much cleaner than you remember it. And those two cute little side counters across from the bar? They have lamps on them and electrical outlets below them. I get pretty strong wifi signals there from several different sources, and the place doesn't get crowded until 8ish. You'll also be the only working there (unless I'm there, too).

5. Syracuse Suds Factory. For the last time, no, the Suds Factory does not make soap. They make delicious beer (though, to be honest, not as delicious as Empire). It's got a great hardwood-and-exposed-brick atmosphere, and they're happy to share their wireless password if you show that you're buying while you're working. There's unfortunately only one outlet in the entire place and it's nowhere near the bar. Order some food, though; it's consistently awesome.

photo credit: Mike McCune

5 coffee shops to work from in the Syracuse area

Over at Outspoken the other day, Lisa Barone wrote about some etiquette for working at coffee shops. Basically, it's how to grab some focus while not being a jackass to other customers, and, more importantly, to the business you're patronizing.

You should read that post, then come back; I'll tell you my favorite coffee shops to work from in the Syracuse area.

1. Recess Coffee. Recess is tucked in the Westcott neighborhood and is open late. There's free on-street parking within a block, although during the school year it can get tough to find parking since the students who rent in the area are stuck parking on the street. They roast their own coffee, and it's clear they're coffee drinkers, because the coffee's really good. They also have creative hot chocolates that bring a lot of people back. They don't have a ton of electricity, so bring a fully charged laptop. And bring headphones; the music can sometimes get a little loud.

2. Freedom of Espresso, Franklin Square. For me, this is the most comfortable of the Freedom stores to work from (and one of two to make my top five spots in town). It's comfortable, has electricity all the way along one wall, and, with the exception of the fact that without fail someone will make or take a really loud phone call during the day, it's the quietest cafe in town. The wifi is stable, parking is plentiful, and if you need a little inspiration, there's a statue of Benjamin Franklin across the street and the CreekWalk about 50 steps in the other direction. There's also a hot dog cart at lunchtime. Word.

3. Funk 'n' Waffles. Funk has the strongest coffee in town, and really good food. Seriously, where else in town can you get fried chicken & waffles? They have overstuffed chairs, plenty of electricity, very stable wifi...the only thing that makes me shy away from going there is the parking. It's on the SU hill, so you're either going to pay a fortune for parking or walk a mile. It's great for consolidating trips up there, though.

4. Cafe Kubal. Kubal is another place that roasts its own coffee and clearly is run by coffee lovers. They also make brilliant sandwiches. It's open before 8 a.m., which makes it a winner for me, since I like to get going early. There's plenty of free parking, too. Unfortunately, it's tiny, the machines can get loud, and it can get crowded. The electricity per capita is really good, if you can get a seat.

5. Freedom of Espresso, Fayetteville. The only real problem with this Freedom store is the wifi is iffy. They have plenty of large leather chairs, and a long counter space in front of the window that is meant to be workspace – it has electricity for every seat, and a space between the counter and the wall for cables. Plenty of free parking next to the store and in the back.

Tomorrow, it being Friday, we'll get your happy hour on with my favorite bars to work from.

photo credit: Ballistik Coffee Boy

Get engaged!

Well, civically. You don't have to be in the under 40 set to join the 40 Below Civic Engagement Task Force in a social networking event tonight at 5:30 p.m. at World Martini Bar, 134 E Genesee Street, in Hanover Square (map).

Check out the Facebook event page. There's no need to RSVP. Just show up, bring people, meet people, you get the idea. No fee for the event, just whatever you opt to purchase.

Say Yes seeks volunteers

Cross-posted from 40 Below Civic Engagement.

Please help us celebrate; it's time to highlight the many positive ways young people are impacting our community!

Approximately 1800 "Say Yes to Education" summer camp students will demonstrate new skills they have learned, talents they have developed and creativity they have unleashed throughout their 2010 "Say Yes" summer camp experiences at the Say Yes Summer Festival Wednesday, July 28th at Thornden Park.

We have a tremendous need for many volunteers to ensure a fun, safe, and successful event for our campers and their families!

Whether it's set up or break down, assisting in the information tent, or helping with an activity, we could use whatever time and effort you have available. Set up will begin at 7 AM, event will run from 9-2 and break down of the event will promptly follow.

We are specifically looking for corporate, community based organizations and other not-for-profit volunteer teams!

For more information contact Monica Richardson of Prevention Network at 315-471-1359, or log onto and follow the Summer Festival Link.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

Syracuse First Relaunches Website

Below is a press release from buy local movement Syracuse First. The organization celebrated its one year anniversary with a joint event with Dolce Vita, which debuted a local menu, and by launching a new website with a database of local businesses.


June 4, 2010 Syracuse, NY – On this date one year ago Syracuse First was born. To celebrate, Executive Director and founder of SyracuseFirst Chris Fowler announces the launch of a new interactive website for the year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping as much money in the local economy as possible by encouraging people to buy in their own backyard. Fowler worked closely with local design firm 2ndNature — designers of such sites as and — to develop the site so consumers can easily access information to help them identify and patronize local member businesses.

The local buying and sustainable economy movement began more than a decade ago in Boulder, CO. Rooted in the belief that buying from local businesses rather than national chains stimulates local economies, more than 25,000 small businesses around the country participate in some type of business alliance supporting local shopping. Currently there are over 130 businesses and organizations participating in SyracuseFirst.

At, site visitors can educate themselves on the many important reasons to buy local, discover independent local companies to do business with, and other resources to help spread the word about the importance of sustainable economies. Individuals can also take the "Think, Buy and Be Local Pledge," to confirm their intention of support for a sustainable localist lifestyle. Individual citizens, nonprofits, and businesses (which are required to reside and conduct business primarily in Onondaga County) can join the SyracuseFirst organization online at various levels depending on revenue level directly through the site.

Fowler grew up in the Syracuse area and following career in public policy established Syracuse First in the summer of 2009 after learning about the BALLE model. BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, is a national movement to promote socially responsible businesses and bring together independent small business owners, government officials, and community leaders. Fowler is the first to admit changing people’s buying habits is an uphill climb but cites statistics that state "just a 10% shift in market share from national or global businesses to locally owned independents would generate an additional $130 million in new economic activity in Onondaga County."

2ndNature is a founding member of Syracuse First and has donated hundreds of hours of creative direction and web development throughout several phases of the project in an effort to ensure that the organization has a suitable online platform. 2ndNature is an award-winning design studio founded in Syracuse in 2002 by Joel Fairbank and Sage Young specializing in user interface design and motion graphics.

For more information on Syracuse First, please contact Chris Fowler at 315.396.6418 or

Onondaga Historical Association seeks volunteers

Cross-posted from 40 Below Civic Engagement:

The Onondaga Historical Association (OHA) is looking for volunteers on Saturday, June 12th from either 10AM-1PM or 1PM-4PM. The OHA is planning a mansions & gardens self-guided tour of the historic Piercefield Neighborhood of Solvay. We need volunteers to welcome guests at each property. For appreciation of your time, we offer you a comp reservation, snack, and water. You may take the self-guided tour before or after your shift. Please contact Adrienne Kelley, Director of Development at the OHA at (315) 428-1864 Ext 314 or email

Public Comment Sought on Connective Corridor

I got this email from Marilyn Higgins at Syracuse University's Office of Community Engagement. It's edited for style and such, and I've de-linked the email addresses so you can copy and paste into your web-based email clients.


Last Friday, the Syracuse Common Council held a committee meeting to look at the plans for the first significant build-out of the Connective Corridor. These plans include the redesign of University Ave. and E. Genesee Street including the installation of bike lanes, pedestrian-level lighting, green infrastructure, landscaping and beautiful new signage and street furniture. The plan also calls for returning University Avenue to a two-way street, and the restoration of Forman Park . The design for Forman Park respects the existing memorials and adds a new fountain, spectacular lighting, seating and carefully crafted landscape architecture.

The vote on these items has been delayed for two weeks. The Common Council is seeking community input so this is the time to register your support for this exciting change. In order to get into construction this fall on Forman Park and see this first major leg of the Corridor built next spring it is important for the Council to hear from those who are looking forward to having these new amenities in our City.

This is a rare opportunity for Syracuse, to use state and federal funding to design and build “complete streets” and better connect the institutions on University Hill to downtown Syracuse. If you are looking forward to Corridor construction, and if you believe that our streets should be shared by the pedestrian and the biker, along with the car please take action by emailing a note to the Common Councilors listed below by June 2.

P.S. Please let the Councilors know how you personally will be affected by the greener commuting options, walkability , safety and urban improvements planned for the University Avenue- East Genesee Street route to downtown Syracuse. Do you live or work in the City? Do you go to church in this area..dine at Phoebe’s…. attend Syracuse Stage… walk or bike this way to work? Also, I encourage you to share this information with colleagues, friends and neighbors. Each note can contribute to a positive change for Syracuse. Thank You!!!

P.P.S. If you would like to see more of the Corridor design work than has been in the papers feel free to stop by our office on the 4th floor of the Warehouse, 350 West Fayette St.

Syracuse Common Council

Van Robinson, President,
Lance Denno, Councilor At-Large,
Kathleen Joy, Councilor At-Large,
Jean Kessner, Councilor At-Large,
William Ryan, Councilor At-Large,
Matthew Rayo, Councilor District 1,
Patrick Hogan, Councilor District 2,
Ryan McMahon, Councilor District 3,
Thomas Seals, Councilor District 4,
Nader Maroun, Councilor District 5,