Plea for Annapolis coffeehouse begins in verse ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY--Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

February 23, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

The woman in black with long blond hair stepped to the microphone a little nervously last night and read her poem.

The poet was in an unfamiliar setting, the Annapolis City Council chambers, instead of a bohemian cafe. But Darlene Pisani, a banker by day who moonlights as a free-lance writer, presented her poem, all about coffee, as testimony. In support of a proposed coffeehouse, of course.

Last night, the cafe culture crashed Annapolis City Hall, which is rarely a place of poetry.

More than a dozen young Annapolitans, many dressed in black tights, tunics or leather jackets, came to testify before the City Council on behalf of what would be the city's first coffeehouse, The Moon.

Gavin Buckley, a waiter at the Middleton Tavern, and two of his friends, Dennis Boyd and Edward Howlin, want to open a small coffeehouse with an international flavor at Prince George and Randall streets.

In a coup, they have enlisted the support of downtown business owners and residents, who frequently clash over such proposals. No one testified against the planned coffeehouse.

The prospective owners plan to offer international newspapers and magazines, espresso, fresh pastries and a facsimile service. In warm weather, customers would be able to sit at tables in a bricked-in courtyard adjacent to the shop, which would seat 34 inside and 34 outside.

Musicians would play acoustical music, and writers will give readings.

The application by the three men is the first of several. City officials have received inquiries from 35 prospective coffeehouse owners in recent months.

"Annapolis will no longer be called a sleepy town," said City Administrator Michael Mallinoff. "With all our caffeine, we'll be up all night."

Annapolis residents in their 20s and 30s said last night that they support having a nonalcoholic alternative for entertainment. Some said they were looking forward to reading international magazines or that they support the recycling efforts the three men have promised. Others said they were bored with the bar scene.

"I will be glad to see a place open where I can relax and where I don't have the pressures of alcohol," said James "Jimbo" Gunning, 27, who told council members that he is a recovering alcoholic.

Melissa Keane, 25, held up two fingers a few inches apart and said, "I'm this close to moving out of Annapolis because there's nothing to do."

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 8, said he looked forward to the opening of a coffeehouse and promised to be a frequent patron.

The council will vote on the proposal March 8.

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