A variety of areas to sit and study in the building. Photo by Alex Jara.
Snacks to enjoy while spending time at Tick Tock. Photo by Alex Jara.
Stairway to the basement where customers can find other study and conference rooms. Photo by Alex Jara
A place to hangout and enjoy the company of others among eclectic decor. Photo by Alex Jara.
Front window of Tick Tock Anti-Cafe. Photo by Alex Jara.
Children's area filled with games, books, and other activities. Photo by Alex Jara.
Art & CultureEditorialReview

Pueblo’s first anti-café established to strengthen community bonds

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Staff review

Have you ever been to a coffee shop or restaurant and liked it so much that you stayed longer than you needed to, but felt guilty for doing so?

If so, try one of Pueblo’s newest businesses, Tick Tock Anti-Café, located at 315 N. Santa Fe Ave: those feelings of guilt may become a thing of the past.

A shelf of books and games for all customers to enjoy. Photo by Alex Jara.

For those wondering what an anti-café is, it is a relatively new concept. It originated in Russia less than 10 years ago where it proved popular and spread across Europe. What makes it different from most eateries is that rather than charging you for food, you are charged for the time spent there.

As you enter Tick Tock, you are warmly welcomed by one of its co-owners or one of their friendly employees who will take your name and start a timer. You are free to grab a coffee, read a book or work on your computer using the free Wi-Fi.

When you manage to bring yourself to re-enter the outside world you will pay based on a rate of eight cents a minute so if you stay for an hour you pay less than five dollars. If you’re not interested in getting change back, you can donate the extra time you paid for back to the store and let a future patron utilize it.

Co-owner Emily Gradisar, who founded it with business partner Laurel Sherman, was inspired to open Tick Tock after spending time in an anti-café in England while doing postgraduate work there.

“We need community spaces,” she said.  “I love a good bar, I love a good fancy coffee shop, but they are very limited in what they can do as far as community building.”

The eclectic yet comfortable décor is a good start toward building the community she desires.  The styles of furniture vary, appealing to a wide range of tastes and the walls are covered with a mix of pictures and collectibles, even featuring a mural by local artist Jacob Barger.

A mural painted by Jacob Barger portraying his image of Pueblo for Tick Tock Anti-Cafe. Photo by Alex Jara.

If you are a frequent customer of Starbucks or some other eatery you may find the menu somewhat lacking; it consists of just coffee, tea, water and light snacks. However, you are free to bring in outside food or even have it delivered.

Tick Tock also features its own lending library, board games and as well as a dedicated children’s area.

There are only two things that may detract from your experience. Tick Tock is located across the street from the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce so depending on the time of day you go parking may be difficult to find. The other possible negative is that music is played throughout the building, so if you prefer a quiet space, you may find it distracting.

OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10

Tick Tock Anti-Café is open seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.