A look to the past. Image from Google.

Today. Kind of an improvement, no?

After about a year and a half of working their way through city bureaucracy and dealing with serious aggravation from the Carpenter’s Union, Milkboy Coffee opened today at 11th and Chestnut Sts. The owners have been dealing with union picketers at their Ardmore location, a giant inflatable rat outside their worksite, a suspicious explosion a couple of months ago, and PGW not crossing picket lines for four months to install their gas meter. Sounds like a great advertisement for doing business in Philadelphia, amiright?

By replacing the beauty supply store with a coffee shop/bar/music venue, Milkboy will have people moving through their business daily from 6am until after midnight. With transparent garage doors replacing small windows and brick walls, visibility to the street is greatly increased. In general, the inside and outside of the space have been enhanced exponentially.

The downstairs space

Not only has Milkboy significantly improved the building it occupies, but it will hopefully provide new energy to this somewhat depressed section of Chestnut St. In either direction, you see, almost exclusively, either low-end retail or vacancy. Their corner is just a block below Market St. and an entrance to the Convention Center, very close to Thomas Jefferson Hospital, and only steps away from a bustling block of Walnut St.; one would expect far better retail options around it. Hopefully, the opening of Milkboy is one of the first steps in what will be a long process of rehabilitating this disappointing stretch. And hopefully the Carpenter’s Union will throw away the inflatable rat.

The north side of the 1100 block of Chestnut St.

The south side of the 1100 block of Chestnut St.

The north side of the 1000 block of Chestnut St.

For more background on Milkboy’s struggle to open, check out this story from PW.