Almost every day, I pass by The Ballroom at Spider House on 29th St. Under the light bulb-rimmed sign that reads “BALLROOM” are the words “Bar and Cafe; Come on in.” I was intrigued by the seeming randomness of the building, so I googled it a few times, but I still couldn’t really tell what this place was. Could you sit and do homework there? Is it more of a bar or a coffee shop? At what point in the day does it switch from a coffee shop to a bar? So, finally, my friends and I decided to venture in.
As we walked into the bar area, sunlight flooded through the front door, lighting up a usually dimly lit room. Seeing a bar in broad daylight doesn’t seem right, but the atmosphere was pleasant nonetheless. We ordered our drinks and sat in the Ballroom to get some homework done. I definitely recommend the dirty horchata with cold brew if that’s your cup of coffee. If not, they have all the usual coffee drinks. My friends enjoyed their cold brew, both plain and with oat milk. The coffee and alcohol prices are reasonable, and I feel that it’s worth noting that when they said my coffee was five dollars, they charged me five dollars flat. That was just a nice bonus.
The Ballroom is, first and foremost, not a study space. Most of the tables inside are small hightops meant for the night scene the area usually accommodates. There is a nice patio with picnic tables and Wi-Fi access, but it has no coverage. Instead, it’s an event venue meant to host comedians and bands. Inside you’ll find a stage with a movie screen where they play cult classics all day and three arcade games in one of the room’s corners. Lights strung across the ceiling reflect off a spinning disco ball in the center, softly lighting up the room. This is a space meant to be seen at night, but you can absolutely enjoy it at any time.
The Ballroom used to connect to Spider House Cafe, which opened in 1995. And sadly, it closed in March 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. The cafe used to be a funky place to enjoy coffee, food trucks, and a nice patio, but now lives on through The Ballroom. You can still enjoy Arlo’s, a food truck on The Ballroom’s patio that serves plant-based burgers and tacos if you need some food with your coffee. For more information about upcoming events at The Ballroom, visit their website here.
Featured Image By Matilda Herrera Ramirez