From high-heeled chairs, to chandeliers of monkeys in suits holding up the lights, Las Vetas lounge has my heart. Hand’s down, after all the cafes my travels have taken me to, my all-time favorite is one that’s closest to home. I haven’t had much luck with cute cafes in Connecticut (but if you have some suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!) in general, but always find myself returning to this one when I’m home.
The first time I went my dad introduced me to the owner of the place, an old friend of his. After talking with him, I took a look around the place and realized the inside of this cafe must reflect a deep corner of his mind. Though he was soft-spoken, Andrew is most certainly one of the more eccentric people I’ve met. His ride for a time, was a purple hearse with a skeleton donning a top hat in the passenger seat that would be parked right out front.
Moving locations three times, I’ve been to each one and found it even more eclectic than the last. More mismatched mugs, more hand-painted tables, more mirrors and artwork mounted to the wall. It was always changing, and always for the better. Amidst the chaos, the thing that has remained consistent, in a sea of random oddities, were the Love Letters. These were quick thoughts, short stories, and tales of love that lasted pages. Patrons use whatever they can to jot down heavy emotions. Whether it’s on the back of a napkin or a scrap of notebook paper, they made their way into the box.
The first location had a literal hole in the wall for patrons to drop their emotional prose into.
The second an unmarked drawer in an old coffee table.
Now, it sits quietly behind an old church pew and on a piano in a metal letterbox.
As I gently opened the top, I found the box filled to the brim with some of the most beautiful, yet tragic words.
My fingers drifted towards me of the top ones, and I begin to unfold their stories. It almost felt wrong, as if someone tore a few pages from the darkest parts of their diary and dropped them in. They felt heavy as they sat in my hands, but I couldn’t stop. Each one was more heartbreaking than the next, filled with regret of a love lost in one way or another. Some are uplifting, speaking of hope and everlasting happiness. Others have you tearing up as if the words were your own, whether out of pain or joy.
At first, I was going to write my own story of love and loss. But as I uncapped my pen, my mind switched gears and began to write a letter to my future self. One that encouraged and recorded a large milestone in my life this year (the nervousness of waiting on hearing back from my now apartment in Brooklyn!) It was a letter I hoped would inspire others to take charge of their own lives and maybe not wait as long as I had to make the leap. Though it wasn’t a traditional love letter, I suppose one could say it was a letter centered on self-love. The words flowed easily, it was then when I finally knew I was ready for this new adventure. It’s funny, how sometimes you don’t realize the truths within until you can get them out and onto paper.
As I finished my sandwich and got ready to head out the door, it’s not until then where I noticed the hand-painted words above the exit. THE OTHER SIDE was written in crude block letters, and for some reason it makes me smile. Las Vetas truly is another world entirely and I don’t know if I’m ready to head back out just yet.
What’s your favorite little coffee shop? Do you prefer the smaller, more cozy places or gravitate more towards a Starbucks? Have any cute cafes in Connecticut I should check out next time I visit? Let me know in the comments!
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