Recently Highline has noticed that while many people are proclaiming the victory of Amazon over brick and mortar retail, a new trend has been quietly taking root nationwide:
We’re calling it the rise of the Practical + Passion.
It’s characterized by spaces that are filled with a minimum of two seemingly different uses, one of which is of a practical daily use (food or shelter for example), the other which is driven by a passion (hobby or cultural interest, for example.) We noticed this first in this weird rise of food and two-wheeled vehicles.
Is this really a "thing"?
We say yes, just look around. Today the trend toward “experiences” has almost become a cliche, especially when mega-corporate clients are trying to manufacture experiences that feel inauthentic. The places that are packed, the places that developers wish they could invent are the places that seem to be born out of a practical need — “I run a coffee shop, but at times it’s just work and it is robbing me of my passion...” so these inventive entrepreneurs are saying, “What if I bring my passion to my work?”
So can you just hire a cool agency to divine what’s “next” so you can have an “experience destination”? Probably not. But we do know some people willing to try...
While we’d love to help, it’s more authentic than that. We’d say it’s more important to look for those young entrepreneurs who are already trying something — and see if you can add fuel to their efforts through funding, space, mentorship or by aligning with a passion of your own.
Some of our favorite Practical + Passions:
Motorcycles + Coffee
If you like coffee and motorcycles, you've gotta get to Blip. Located in the West Bottoms, Blip is: sustainable, cool, community-oriented, passionate and in our humble opinion, onto something.
Art + Hotel
If you're reading this, you've probably heard of 21c, or heard us share our excitement about being involved in the local launch of 21c at the historic Savoy. Combining 21st century art (all their artists are living) with a boutique hotel and chef-driven restaurant is their secret sauce, which has led to 8 U.S. locations.
Cycles + Cafe
Spokes Cafe, a creative cyclery and hoppin' lunch spot serves up comfort food, coffee and beer in Quality Hill. They also do full-service bike repairs, rentals and sales. Ride/Drink On.
Flowers + Bar
Florería Atlántico is not only one of the highest ranked cocktail bars on the planet, it's actually a shop for flowers and wine, too. This unique concept is located in a historic French building in Buenos Aires. Entering the bar, you first have to go through a beautiful decorated flower shop, then take a back door, down some stairs, to a mystical cocktail bar. Add it to your bucket list.
More examples. More Photos.
Clockwise from top:
Crossroads Hotel: Hotel + Gallery in Crossroads KC
Blind Barber: get your hair cut, then sneak through the back to tie one on at a hidden speakeasy. In LA, Chicago & NYC.
The Guild: lifestyle is on full display with a restaurant, flower shop & home goods. Here, beautiful books line the stairs to the lower level in NYC.
Super Domestic Coffee in LA seems to trying to communicate something to us....
There are so many more, both in KC and around the globe:
Chicken N Pickle: chicken + pickle ball in North KC
Topgolf: golf + sports bar nationwide
Cafe Hollander: Bikes + Beer in Wisconsin
Deus ex Machina: coffee + motorcycles nationwide
Our Daily Nada: books + booze in KC's Rivermarket
Afterword Tavern & Shelves: more books + booze in KC
We'd love to hear about your favorite Practical + Passion. Shoot us an email.