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Friday, October 16, 2009

Axis Café is Just Like Your Living Room. Only a Hell of a Lot Nicer

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 3:22 PM

click to enlarge See? Just like home, but without the thrift-store couch and murky bong. - LAWRENCE SINCLAIR/FLICKR
  • Lawrence Sinclair/Flickr
  • See? Just like home, but without the thrift-store couch and murky bong.
Potrero Hill's Axis Café calls itself "the neighborhood living room," which is immediately evident when you walk in and see the roaring fireplace -- even in the middle of the afternoon. But unlike, say, our living room, the décor here is industrial chic: huge windows, vaulted ceilings, and concrete walls. Comfy couches and armchairs take up space between the tables, and it's perennially breezy thanks to the large outdoor patio. The California-style food (soups, salads, and sandwiches) is fairly sophisticated, at least for a coffee shop. Everything's fresh and presented well, though it's relatively pricey.

Topped with crème fraîche and a bit of crostini, tomato basil soup ($4) was light and flavorful. The grilled cheese with tomato ($7) was buttery and crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside. Its blend of Swiss and cheddar stood up to the flavor of the sourdough, and the tomato added freshness. Of all the deftly made coffee drinks, our favorite is the simplest: Axis' house blend drip ($1.75) comes with free refills, something we'd like to see become a habit at other coffee shops. If you're looking for more of a kick than caffeine can provide after a day of work, Axis has a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. that features $2 off glasses of wine and $3 beers. Monday evenings at 5 p.m. it's family night, with toys and games for kids to play with. It could be nice -- in the comfort of someone else's living room, when it's not you who has to pick up the scattered game pieces.

Axis Café 1201 Eighth St. (at Wisconsin), 437-2947.

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