In defence of the hipster aesthetic

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THE Starving Rooster is a trendy craft beer bar and restaurant in the middle of Minot, North Dakota, which is about as close as you can get to the middle of nowhere. Step inside though, and with its big wood tables, high ceilings, exposed masonry and industrial setting (it is housed in the former headquarters of a tractor company) it could be anywhere. Indeed, it is the kind of place you can find everywhere.

From Beijing to Bristol and Mumbai to Minsk, bars and coffee shops have taken on a similar aesthetic: tungsten-lit, warehouse-y spaces with lots of wood and brick, serving avocado on toast and kale-and-quinoa salads.

Critics deride this sort of thing as a flattening of the world, a McDonaldisation of global culture. Kyle Chayka, a Brooklyn-based writer, dubs these venues “AirSpace”: “the realm of coffee shops, bars, start-up offices, and co-live/work spaces that share the same hallmarks everywhere you go”. Mr…Continue reading

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