A new cafe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is trying something a little different. As reported by Business Insider, the shop is called Glasshour and it operates under a different pricing structure, where instead of paying per coffee order, patrons are paying by the minute. Coffee is free to any paying customer.
Glasshour charges 10¢ a minute with a minimum charge of $6, covering the first hour (you didn’t think they’d just let you come in and pay 20¢ for a cup of coffee, did you?). After the first hour, the per-minute rate kicks in and will keep running until the completion of the fourth hour, or $24. After that, the remainder of the time is spent at Glasshour is free.
The price of admission include free snacks, wifi, board games, and of course, coffee, though it is unclear if Glasshour patrons are limited to brewed coffee or if espresso options are available; cursory internet and social media searches yielded no proof of the existence of an espresso machine, espresso drinks, or baristas inside Glasshour. Only serving brewed coffee would make sense for this business model; it’s hard to imagine a pay-by-the-minute cafe being a profitable venture if it let you power hour as many $4 cappuccinos as you could for just $6, which is definitely what I’d try to do if given the option.
According to their website, Glasshour is the “first pay per minute cafe in the U.S.,” and Business Insider notes the existence of a similar concept at a Russian coffee chain called Ziferblat. Starting in Moscow in 2010, the brand has expanded to 14 cafes across Europe, including spaces in London, Manchester, and Liverpool, proof that there is a market for this style of coffee shop.
It remains to be seen if it will catch on here in the States. But the real question is, how many people are like me and take it as a challenge to consume at least $6 worth of coffee and snacks each hour to get my money’s worth? I’m pretty sure I could break that place in a month, especially if they have granola bars.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*top image via Glasshour