For the average Eastman School of Music student, Kilbourn Hall and Eastman Theatre are no more important than the beloved local coffee shops known as Java’s and Spot. After all, it is at these establishments that one procures the ever-important first cup of the day, meets with faculty to beg for better grades and has first dates – sometimes, all at once, especially if one is pressed for time or a bit academically immoral.

But the fact of the matter is, quite simply, that Java’s and Spot both serve as important social venues for nearly everyone in Rochester.

Unfortunately, the choice between these two cafes creates confusion for some and occasionally, outright controversy. One year, a pack of voice students on roller skates spent hours in front of Eastman violently arguing about whether the delicious, low-calorie and wholesome Spot cake was worth walking two blocks to eat.

Or, at another time, a rumor went into circulation that Java’s was using unwitting Eastman students to test a new line of aphrodisiac coffee that they were designing – according to local legend, coffee sales were especially high that week.

Because the venues are so completely different from one another, Eastman students fall neatly into two completely separate coffee cliques. There are “Spot people,” and there are “Java’s people” – no exceptions. So the question remains, what does one need to know in order to find out which club he or she belongs to? The following might help clarify.

If you have bought clothes from the Gap within the last six months and read “The Da Vinci Code,” you are a Spot person. If you wear black and your reading tastes run toward Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and books featuring vampires, you definitely belong at Java’s.

If you can recognize Armani cologne by scent and are a member of a gym, you should drink your coffee at Spot. But if, on the other hand, you don’t mind skipping a shower or two and your daily exercise consists of walking to the smoke shop to support that most delicious habit, you should go to Java’s.

If you miss more than six classes per semester, or party more than you study, you should be attending Java’s. If, on the other hand, you are punctual, prompt, responsible and maintain a 3.0 GPA or better, you’ll like Spot much more.

If you are a singer, go to Spot. If you play jazz, go to Java’s.

If you prefer Tonic over Lux Lounge, you are better suited for Spot. If you prefer Salanger’s to the Eastman Lounge, you should patronize Java’s.

If you’re a French roast type of coffee person, Spot will meet your needs. But if you like Colombian and the lighter blends, Java’s would be better.

If you’ve ever made a public scene until you had to be forcibly restrained – and you’re proud of it – you’ll be much more at home at Java’s. But if you prefer to keep such trivial little incidents to yourself, you should really drink your coffee at Spot.

If you drink wine, you’re better off at Spot. If you prefer beer, you need to be at Java’s.

If you’re a poet, go to Java’s. If you’re a filmmaker, go to Spot.

If you own the Matrix on DVD or a collection of horror movies, Java’s is your kind of place. If you own anything with Hugh Grant or Richard Gere, Spot is the coffee shop for you.

If you like SUVs, go to Spot. If you like bicycles and cars selling for $800 or less, go to Java’s.

If you have three or more piercings or tattoos, go to Java’s. If you have had a haircut in the last three weeks, go to Spot.

By this time, you can probably get an idea as to which coffee shop is the right one for you. A lack of careful consideration could have potentially dire consequences for one’s academic success, as well as for their future career.

But at least Spot and Java’s both serve excellent coffee, and nearly all of us can use some of that at one time or another, as it is widely known that coffee helps creativity. This is useful for a musician – especially when negotiating for better grades – which, incidentally, is always best done at Java’s.

LaBlanc can be reached at

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