My favorite café is the Alaylı Kafe just up the hill from my flat.
I felt at home from the first moment I set foot in the door. There are four wooden tables painted grey, old stone walls used for rotating photography exhibits, great music and great staff. One lucky street cat is curled up by the internal well, which is safely covered by a clear sheet through which you can peer down into the depths. Another street cat can often be seen sitting on the window, or waiting to be let in every time the door opens.
The owner is part of Kumbarachi 50 theatre just down the street, so sometimes the café is full of theatre people discussing scripts. A few times I’ve walked past to see bright lights on and cameras rolling as they film a scene.
I keep coming back because everyone in the café makes me feel at home. I’ve spent hours drinking endless cups of tea, using wifi and happy for the company. Some evenings I get to share the next day’s baked treat when it comes hot out of the oven.
If I’m there until closing time (sometimes long past the official one), the lucky street cat goes back outside, the friendly local staff locks up, and we walk down Kumbarachi together.