By Tehniat Aftab
Creative artistic spaces.
â€œA community space for open dialogue, T2F provides citizens with a platform for social change through rich cultural activities, public discourse, and advocacy using progressive ideas and the new media,â€Â PeaceNiche (parent organisation of Â T2F)
The thing that needs to be understood about The SecondÂ Floor (T2F) is that itâ€™s not just a cafÃ©. Well, it is but itâ€™s so much more, from its wealth of books and magazines, board games, puzzles Â and free wi-fi, it is as so many of its patrons feel, a second home. A place where you can kick off your shoes and enjoy the great company, coffee and of course, the food!
Situated in Karachi, Defence Phase 2 (ext), the cafÃ© offers reasonably priced homemade menu items, including scrumptious sandwiches: moist and juicy pepper chicken, hunter beef and â€œThe Grilled Cheese Flying Saucerâ€ are just a few of the options on display. While there are a variety of steaming hot beverages to choose fromâ€”from espressos to cappuccinos to hot chocolateâ€” T2F is best known for its baked goodies.Â Rich, delicious chocolate cupcakes, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal & chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. It also offers an all day breakfast â€“ with omelet, frenchtoast, granola and milk. The cafÃ© management assures us that everything in their kitchen is made from scratch and with handpicked ingredientsâ€”the coffee freshly brewed, and bread and cookies freshly baked everyday at the cafÃ©.
The ambience and atmosphere of T2F isÂ warm, comfortable and welcoming. The cafÃ© has a light, contemporary look: brown polished furniture, orange walls, and is plenty spacious. The cafÃ© also features events for students and other young people to participate in and attend. There are training sessions, tabla classes, drawing and art classes, classical singing classics, photography workshops, comedy nights, karaoke nights, book launches and a whole lot more. There have been over a hundred different events and workshops at T2F: photography and design exhibitions, discussions, talks, poetry readings, musical sessions, theatre performances etc. Artists, writers and intellectuals are often found here engaged in healthy discussion and debate, writing their grand masterpieces of tomorrow or merely enjoying the ambience.
The Second Floor also features a bookstore, with over 500 books on various subjects: politics, fiction, poetry, science, art, design and novels. It also has a selection of rare comtemporary Urdu novels and poetry. One of the more interesting elements of the cafÃ© is the bathroom blackboard; its purpose being to allow its customers to indulge in artistic, creative whimsy. The cafÃ© also hosts its own galleryâ€”Farrar Art Galleryâ€”which serves as a platform for new and emerging artists & photographers.
The Second Floor is aÂ place for the intellectually inclined and visually arresting artists, poets and writers of today. With its good food, coffee and focus on constantly engaging healthy discussion and debate, it is exactly what the city and country need. Hereâ€™s hoping cafes in Lahore and Islamabad follow suit. It might help increase the impact of the intellectual and creative elite, if an increasing number of establishments sat up and took notice of the talent growing in their back yard.