I am boring. I visit the safe cafe, sit on the same table and order the same type of coffee. Every time. Or maybe I am just very loyal?
A dear friend recently recommended a place saying “you’ll like it” and I loved it, which is why it has gently made its way on to this blog.
For a long time I had a little dream to create a cosy cafe in Erbil. I no longer have that, for someone out there has created something better than I could ever dream of creating myself.
Loyal reader, sit back, and sip away your coffee as I take you inside the doors of Al Reef Cafe.
There are hundreds of cafes, and restaurants. But only a handful are created to be more than just a business and serve a purpose within the community. Al Reef is exactly that, and more. This place is more than ordering a coffee, sitting in a business meeting, going on a date or being with friends well into the night. I envision it as a place for the community. A place of ideas, creativity, productivity, efficiency, success and inspiration. All with a cup of coffee.
Every corner has been thought of, every detail is perfect in every way. The place is a cup full of inspiration for any writer, artist, freelancer, business man, or a brain jammed multi tasker lost between meetings, social life and… emails!
I cannot go to the second floor of Al Reef and just… take a seat. It is tempting to read every quote, observe all the tones and colours, witness the brightest local talents in town; many of my favourite startups have their products for there, and enjoy the art work, pop of culture and history.. . and when I finally take my seat I am already inspired, motivated and in a completely better state of mind. You don’t believe me? Then visit and experience it yourself.
There is no need to bend, push chairs and bump your head under tables when your laptop charge is blinking red at two percent. Because someone has already thought about it for you, right on the table, to your right. Simple as that. I can just imagine drinking coffee behind my laptop on one of the those workstations. Ahhhhh.
The cafe/ restaurant has been created with every individual and their needs in mind. Perfect for any social bird and their friend gatherings, and those who like to meet in big groups (there is an event area on the third floor), students, and the solo souls. You can never feel awkward to be alone in a cafe again, there are seats that are designed only for the solo birds who want to study, hide behind a laptop, write or just… day dream with a cup of coffee.
The things that tickle my heart are hands wrapped around a warm cup – check, quotes – check, cosy atmosphere- check, books – check! Oh and lamps, lots of lamps, vibrancy of culture, art and local talent- check, check and check. How can you not enjoy this atmosphere? How?
I read every quote and writing for as far as my eyes can see without glasses, and before I know it, the coffee arrives. I can’t comment on the menu- including food and beverage, as I am post Covid and have lost my taste, but I can only imagine the taste buds dancing in joy. You can see the Al Reef menu here.
In 2006 when I set foot into Erbil, Iskan and the bazaar were the only places where there were tea houses. When I travelled and returned, I yearned for something like Starbucks, the aroma of coffee, work and just that cosy atmosphere. Today, there are so many options in Erbil, yet only a few provide the uniqueness of an atmosphere, a quality service and provide ultimate comfort without the suffocating smell of cigarettes and fruit poison- hookah, or argeela.
There are even little chairs and tables to finally write that book you have always wanted to write, or… just finish the essay that you’ve been postponing for weeks. There are even bean bags. I did mention everyone’s comfort has been considered.
I shouldn’t really give it all away. Will let you go and discover the other little bits and pieces yourself. Salute to business in my city with a heart, soul and a vision behind them to better the community!
Al Reef tells a story of a city, and a community with a cup of coffee. I genuinely hope you create great stories of your own behind its doors on the 40 meter Gulan Street, opposite Naz city. Find their Baghdad branch here and Erbil branch here.
Photos in this blog post were taken by a lovely friend A. Mufti. Thank you.
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan