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Rundown of possible switch to Algorithm Coffee for new meetup venue

On Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 9:34 PM Michael Paoli <Michael.Paoli@cal.berkeley.edu> wrote:
New venue(?).  Maybe.  Folks have been discussing such (at meetings, and
other communications too).  We may be well to at *least* have a
reasonable "Plan B" - and might well switch from 85C regardless.

IMHO, it shouldn't be all too all that surprising that my own Pluses and Minuses for Algorithm Coffee in particular would be nearly identical to Michael P's and Tom L's.
The direct Algorithm Coffee Co. Location webpage is https://www.algorithmcoffee.co/pages/location and the main West Berkeley place is located on the South side of University Ave in between San Pablo Ave and Curtis St.  

For Algorithm Coffee on the Plus side:
+ It's definitely still in a more central part of Berkeley (as per the group's very name *Berkeley* LUG), as opposed to being in North Oakland across the Berkeley-Oakland city boundaries, or all the way up in North Berkeley/Kensington/Berkeley Hills.
+ The Algorithm Coffee location is amenable to reach-to and to park-near for out-of-town drivers, as opposed to some of the parking difficulties that a few have described for parking in Downtown Berkeley on Sunday afternoons (for both 85C Bakery *and* Bobbie G's Pizzeria) .
+ The Algorithm Coffeee management seems eager to increase its clientele from what I've seen so far, e.g., by even encouraging groups to come by, allow them to put one or two large tables together if it is relatively uncrowded, ... etc.
+ The restrooms are decent and clean for both Men +and+ Women, and as separate restrooms(!!).
+ There are abundant AC power outlets spread around Algorithm Coffee for all the computing and smartphone devices that the vast majority of customers regularly bring along and use.
+ The WiFi access is decent-to-good on a consistent, regular basis.
+ The coffee, IMNSHO, is incredibly high-quality, and is reasonably priced per cup based upon the manager's high-end selection of the finest gourmet coffee beans and roasting methods, and the customer lines for Algorithm Coffee's fine coffees are rarely as long as those of 85C Cafe (AAMOF have myself *never* yet seen a line of a half-dozen or more customers waiting around for service at Algorithm Coffee!)     
+ The Algorithm Coffee management readily allows paying-customer *individuals* to separately bring in their food from outside; unsure if the Algorithm's management would as readily allow *group*-type meals there, e.g., bringing in multiple pizza pies from Lanesplitter Pizza and Pub located practically around the corner on San Pablo Ave https://www.yelp.com/biz/lanesplitter-pizza-and-pub-berkeley  or from the low-budget Little Caesars located diagonally across the street from Algorithm Coffee https://www.yelp.com/biz/little-caesars-pizza-berkeley.
+ The population (a.k.a. clientele) seems to be much more mixed than the East Asian boba-fan Cal students I've most frequently seen studying at 85C Bakery. Besides Cal students, I think significantly more 20s-30s+ professionals frequent Algorithm Coffee than 85C to do their serious online work (coding, web-design, webinars, IRC...etc), to do career networking, and to have in-person interviews.
I see this more mixed clientele as a definite plus, and have had a few interesting conversations with other patrons as well.

For Algorithm Coffee on the Minus side, and with my own qualifications:
- As per the above location "on the South side of University Ave in West Berkeley between San Pablo Ave and Curtis St", Algorithm Coffee is further away from Downtown Berkeley and its Downtown Berkeley BART station than are Bobbie G's and 85C.  The westbound 51B ACTransit bus goes straight along University Ave from Downtown Berkeley and its BART station to the corner of University and San Pablo Ave.  The northbound 72R ACTransit bus goes straight along San Pablo Ave all the way from the 12th St/Oakland Civic Center and the 19th St/Oakland BART stations to the corner of San Pablo Ave and University Ave.
- Algorithm Coffee's Sunday hours of 9:00am - 5:00pm are somewhat more limited than 85C Bakery's and when the group of us visited the place before 4pm last Sunday 03/24, the coffeeshop's longer 6-person tables were each already occupied by two to four other coffeeshop patrons. It might help here -- as it has for past BerkeleyLUG meetups at 85C Bakery -- if a few meetup participants would arrive at Algorithm Coffee *before* the typically scheduled 12Noon meetup start time in order to reserve a longer table for the group (or better yet, two longer tables than can be joined together), of course space-permitting and with the acceptance of management and other the patrons.
- The amount of light is much less 85C Bakery's, both from sunlight (the glass windows facing University Ave) and from the overhead lights. One of the principal coffee baristas I asked about this told me that Algorithm Coffee's owner prefers to handle the internal lighting all by himself alone, he doesn't allow people to bring their own brighter lightbulbs for Algorithm Coffee's light fixtures, and he also prefers the current darker, more subdued lighting for the benefit of the rest of the paying customers.
When I last visited Algorithm Coffee, I successfully increased the amount of light I used for myself there, on an acceptable and individual basis, by bringing along with me a small, battery-powered portable LED lamp. I've aimed the beam of the small lamp directly down to my laptop and at any other printed material I bring to read, this neither bothered those sitting around me nor did it engender any complaints from them or from management, and I could most easily see the keyboard and read the material I needed to.
- Algorithm Coffee streams its selection of music throughout the coffeeshop, and although the music volume wasn't overly loud when the group of us visited last Sunday 03/24, there have been other times when the streamed music *has* become louder than usual and quite penetrating. A distinct advantage of attempting to keep meetup participants as close together as possible at one or two longer tables -- one of the points made above -- is that this step is likely to better enable people to hear one another over the coffeeshop's ambient volume of music.
- The West Berkeley area surrounding Algorithm Coffee seems a bit seedier than the Downtown Berkeley area closer to the Cal campus. I myself wouldn't worry too much about this during Sunday meetups happening this time of the year through to the Fall, but those staying at Algorithm to work on their projects right up to 5pm during late November through January after the "official" Sunday meetups might do well to keep their eyes more carefully open to their outside surroundings when they leave the coffeeshop premises (and when it starts to get dark before 5pm.)
- Probably one or two other Minuses that don't come to mind at present.

Please feel free the fill in the blanks with what I've missed and/or expand upon the above.
Thanks and Cheers!

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