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Uncommon Café and Books in Shockoe Bottom

Tastemakers

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Slowly but surely Shockoe Bottom is being redecorated. Thankfully not by the Starbucks and McDonald's of the world, but by brave souls trying to put some hustle and bustle back into the Bottom without pushing out its character. Take 17.5 Uncommon Café and Books. Finally, a New York-style coffee shop, a cozy and eclectic little hole in the wall with plenty of fine java to sip, gourmet baked goods to munch and rare books to read. The funky sliver of nonconformity is wedged into the block of 17th Street across from the Farmer's Market. It opened Dec. 1. It's the kind of place where four mix-matched chairs make a set, and where you never drink from the same kind of coffee cup twice. Grab a cup and a scone, and sit back with a book to read or a friend to philosophize with. On your way out, pick up a quick Christmas gift. This specialty store also sells a smattering of herbal products. Farmers' Market manager and cafe proprietor Kathy Emerson hopes that by the end of December the live-jazz nights will be up and running, too. 17.5 is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily at 17.5 N. 17th St. 780-BOOK.

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