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In defence of the hipster aesthetic

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guest-ajlsjmjs

As a resident of a mid-tier American city (Jacksonville), I live in a hipster neighborhood, and go to hipster establishments. I think it's really nice to be able to feel like I can participate in something cool and global within my city, which doesn't always get the biggest bands or shows coming through.

I think as much as some naysayers would like to suggest, the independent owned design focused places that are popping up all over the globe are the most important artistic movement and design ethos of the 21st century so far. I think when people are writing about this time period years hence they'll refer to the aesthetic as a movement akin to the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century.

I think it's more than just an aesthetic though, in many instances you'll find that the people who work in such establishments are actually happy. I don't want to go to a chain restaurant where miserable wage slaves churn out microwaved slop, I want to go to a dining option where someone actually enjoyed making the food or drink I'll enjoy. I think in many instances the phrase "craft," which is ubiquitous in the aesthetic, is meant literally. Someone actually created something, had some input in the creation.

guest-nsliomo

Absolutely agree. As someone who spent a 3 year period in my twenties in Cincinnati, OH - I can personally attest to what these places meant.

guest-soamwaj

"This is not so much a flattening of taste as a democratisation of it."
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Exactly. Complaints about the McDonalds-esque creeping ubiquity of exposed ventilation systems and avocado toast might have some merit if these things were being imposed on a previously diverse world by a powerful single entity (like McDonalds). But the very fact that most "hipster" cafes and bars are more-or-less independent operations refutes this idea. That aesthetic has flourished because it is genuinely popular and fashionable, at least among people of a certain age. It's like complaining that people all over the world wear jeans.

ashbird

A very fine piece indeed. Really lovely in the way it evokes. Thanks, Prospero.
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"This is not so much a flattening of taste as a democratisation of it." - Quote from piece.
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I happen to agree. Totally.
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But some... many... see it as high-level snobbery. First, you have to like such places - exposed masonry and a former-factory space. Second, you have to like craft beer and avacado on toast. Third, you have to feel you belong. Fourth, you have to like listening to people who ride bicyles and talk more like a nerd than a grouch. Fifth, you have to truly see the virtue in camaraderie than throat-to-throat joust. No place for cock-fights fitted with metal spurs. Etc.
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I don't drink. And so I order water, Pellegrino if it comes in a glass bottle (no plastic); if they dont' have it , hot water. I haven't encountered any"evil eye" or "get out of here, you are the wrong color." To me, that' all that counts.

Tom Meadowcroft in reply to ashbird

High level snobbery? I suppose. There are people who feel comfortable in their local bar but feel uncomfortable in a hipster bar, because of beers they don't recognize, food they can't pronounce, people who dress and speak oddly. But that has always been the way of pubs and bars. Any public space with "character" makes some subset of the population comfortable and another uncomfortable. There are those who are comfortable in lots of different settings, but most people wish to relax with their tribe; it's a very human impulse.

I, for one, enjoy a variety of alcoholic beverages, but don't spend a lot of time in bars. They're usually too loud and too crowded. Maybe I need to find a quiet hipster bar. I'm moving from Ohio to a university town near Philadelphia this summer; there's sure to be more hipsters there.

cloudtrapezer@hotmail.com

It's Yanjing beer not Nanjing beer. And it's more like four or five percent than two percent. Agreed it's just bog standard lager but like English bitter it's a social drink since you can drink for a few hours before falling over and you can talk about things other than beer. Jing A is OK once in a while but I didn't observe much cross cultural stuff going on there. Anyway there are far more "crafty" places for the affluent to throw their money around. Beijing is craft beer crazy. There's a glossy magazine devoted to the stuff. It's all getting a bit old as I believe the hipsters say.

guest-ajnjljwn

What a load of crap. In no way should we interpret the decision to cut down on costs and leave brick bare (as opposed to consolidating or completely remodeling the facade) as a "hipster aesthetic". Let the cost-cutting and frugal interior planning rest in peace.