I've been doing research on extremely small cafes since the beginning of Strip Juice and how they function. The first and main reason is because Strip Juice falls under this category, secondly there is an art to utilising small spaces to the best of its potential. But so very few photos that show up online impress me, most of these cafes have bigger space to play with than I have (700 sqft? Pfft. Try 150 sqft), and I have seen some really small really amazing places before (most of them happens to be in Japan).
The smallest establishment I've ever witnessed, including hidden kitchen/toilet/prep area, was this standing bar in Japan, owned by a friend of a friend's.
It was quite literally a bar without chairs, because it couldn't fit any. And at any given time, you can stand comfortably inside, 4 people, in a line (along the bar). 6 if you like squeezing. The toilet was also epically small, it's a squat toilet where you would need to stand with your legs unflatteringly across the toilet in order to open to door. It was a tiny hole, with a tiny flush, and a tiniest hand wash where the basin felt more like a cup. I was surprised they even bothered fitting in a toilet!
Entrance was always left opened, and everything was in wood. There's a two-door display chiller fridge next to the toilet where they store all the wine and beers and sakes. It can be brutal during winter to stand with your back facing the chiller and front facing the bar. You would be standing face to face with the barista who's behind a narrow counter standing in an equally tight space. He, too, would have no chair to sit on.
I spent two hours in that cafe. It felt like hustling; against the cold and my claustrophobia while my travel companions chattered on in a drunken state. What struck me was, despite the size, they still receive patrons on a nightly basis. Was it the influence of one of the largest populated cities in the world?
Below are 7 great ideas for the extremely small establishments:
Tags: Actually Useful Tips