Undergrounds Coffeehaus

It's all waiting for you: toasty-hot tater tots, ferocious Guitar Hero battles, cult television and movie nights, yummy specialty coffee drinks, Popsicle-stick architecture competitions, art shows, and more. Located in an unassuming strip mall on Commercial Boulevard east of Federal Highway, Undergrounds Coffeehaus, a little gem of caffeinated love, is as hard to find as it is to leave — but once you identify its Christmas light-illuminated window, you're home. Inside is a bohemian treasure trove of secondhand books, vintage synthesizers and guitars, and board game enthusiasts. Grab one of co-owner Aileen Liptak's mocha concoctions, sit on a squishy couch, and linger over Scrabble or Risk. Nibble on homemade cookies and hot-out-of-the-oven tater tots while you and your new gaming friends chill out to flicks like The Secret of NIMH and The Dark Crystal. This is the living room you wish you had, where the coffee's fresh and the company is always pleasant. The lights are probably on right now.

The differences between competing liquor stores might seem trivial to those in search of mere hooch. The distinctions are for those who seek a higher, finer something. Selection is a part of it, but not a huge one — some stores cater to the Boone's Farm crowd, some to the people who swill Hendricks, but most booze-pushers are happy selling to either demo. So it goes at 67, with one key difference: 67's got a 50-something-year-old English guy behind the counter who kindly, solicitously, and totally un-pushily engages every human being that enters his domain. His name's John and he's been there forever, or so it seems, escorting guests through 67's big wine selection and explaining the history of port, or why Château Lafite-Rothschild produces such lovely reds; spinning customers through the liquor racks and rapping about why Fris is a perfectly yummy vodka despite its reasonable price and what makes 25-year-old Highland Park scotch worth $250 a bottle. Customer service of this stripe is a dying art, and it's why even folks on the other side of town routinely make the drive to 67.

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