The owners of Z’otz, the coffeeshop in the Marigny, have opened a second twenty-four-hour store in the 8200 block of Oak Street, where they go head-to-head with the venerable Rue de la Course by day, but own the street by night. The interior decor is very well done, each room with its own motif, ranging from botany to voodoo. There’s a big selection of pastries, including vegan pralines, for those of you who like that sort of thing. The blueberry crunch, which does not carry the Vegan Housekeeping Seal of Approval, is very tasty, especially if you ask your cute barista to heat it for you. The music is different every night and usually very interesting. (Last night, Leonard Cohen was crooning from the speakers and I laughed all over again at his insane lyric, “First, we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!.” Is he taking a shot at The Protocols?) The shop is wi-fi enabled, so bring your laptop.
The shop is also cute-boy enabled, so bring your libido. Mack, one of the owners, is the butchest member of the staff; by his slick-bald head, bass voice, and bone earrings ye shall know him. His adorable, sweet boyfriend Robert doubles as an employee. (Look for the slim boy with a chain and lock on his neck. He’s so Sid Vicious, in a cute sort of way; Mack has the key.) A lovely twink-with-a-beard named Walt works the night shift around weekend nights. And although I don’t have his name (yet!), check out the tall guy with smooth, golden skin and blonde dreadlocks. Except for the dreadlocks and the sad fact that he has clothes on, he looks like an Olympic diver. He told me he’s been growing out the dreads for six years; he makes them look really good. Oh, yeah, there are some female baristas, too, for those of you who like that sort of thing.
The patrons are mostly twenty-something and, I think, mostly students. The rest are young fashion masterminds, the kind who know how to accessorize an outfit with suspenders and striped socks and make it look good. I know from experience, though, that if you have to show up in your office apparel, you’ll be warmly received; just keep telling yourself, “I’m the alternative alternative.”
Here’s a tip for when you visit: Tip. The baristas, “the kids” as Mack calls them, love their store. We don’t want them to have to take soulless jobs on Bourbon Street in order to keep body and soul together, do we?
Z’otz, by the way, is a bat. He is the Mayan god of twilight, crossroads, and other transitions. Ask to see His glyph. Oh, one more thing: Check out the leaves lacquered into the floor of the botany-themed restroom next to the coffee bar. It’s not “possession”–it’s art!