What makes a place feel like home?

Before I get started, “I DON’T SEE NOTHING WROOOOOONNNG, WITH A LITTLE BUMP N GRIND!” Yes, I had to. Judge me all you want, but it was 100% necessary.

Secondly, what you’re about to read is simply my opinion. It is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Have you heard the saying "home is where the heart is”? What about "where I lay my hat is my home"? Of course, you have.

While I was sitting in my usual spot in the one place I feel comfortable enough to create (outside of my home and studio), I had a thought: What makes a place feel like home? What is it about this place that puts your mind and body at ease?

I've been going to Bump 'n Grind ever since I moved to Silver Spring. I only found out about this place after frustratingly trying to find something similar in D.C. It wasn't that the places in DC aren't good - most of them are. Yet I never felt quite as relaxed in the other D.C. coffee shops as I do in Bump ’n Grind. 

When I go into a shop in D.C., there is often an air of pretentiousness. The upturned noses and overpriced menus were all it took to turn me off. The typical coffee shop, however, fits the D.C. lifestyle. The shops always feel packed and small. It’s difficult for me to find comfort in a space where I feel as though I am being hurried up and rushed out the door the moment I step inside. You are a customer - nothing less, but definitely nothing more. Bump ’n Grind, however? It’s different. (I’d have to say the only exception is one of my favourite places in D.C. and that’s Maketto)

I stumbled upon Bump 'n Grind one day while walking around the Silver Spring neighborhood taking photos. I say the name, giggled and walked in. The name played to my funny bone and childish sense of humour, reminding me of that R. Kelly song. I was instantly intrigued.

When I walked in, I was greeted by a warm welcoming glow. The open ceiling and low hanging lights made it feel as if I had walked into an intimate restaurant. The facade is wrapped in curtain windows, flooding the shop with natural light. On the right, as you enter is a wall adorned with records. Even more cover the back wall, along with a few turntables.

I couldn't believe what I had stumbled on. Here is a place that was a record shop that served coffee, tea, and food. It wasn't crowded, though every seat was filled. There was no air of superiority like I had found in previous coffee shops. Everyone was relaxed. 

The community board added another great touch. It told me the importance of community - within its four walls and beyond. Here was a space encouraging people to get away for a moment. Where people can bring a book - or even their kids - and feel relaxed. My point is, compared to the places in D.C. where the main goal is to turn people into profit, Bump 'n Grind wants you to stay a while.

I’m not a food writer by any means. But if I were to write a review on Yelp, this is what I’d say:

“If you're ever feeling stressed out, creative, or you simply need a break, then Bump 'n Grind is the place to go. It is a great mix of friendly atmosphere, reasonably priced menu, and wonderfully nostalgic records.

Bump 'n Grind isn't a singularly exclusive space that you find in most burgeoning cities. It is a place that caters to the spirit of community. A place where you can sit down and get to know the people around you. The baristas and the owner (also one of the baristas) are some of the easiest-going people that I know. If you're into the world of soccer, then you’re really in luck. David (owner) - while a fan of the wrong team - is very much into soccer. You can even catch some games live in the space.”

At the end of the day, it is inviting and welcoming. You will find yourself feeling at home every time you decide to spend a few hours there. 

So if you ever find yourself at Bump ’n Grind and begin to wonder what makes a place feel like home, take a look around. The same qualities that make you feel comfortable in your own home are somewhere at Bump 'n Grind. 

Now, of course, there are going to be those that completely and utterly abhor what I just wrote. Either because they feel like I insulted them or they’re favourite spaces, but here’s the thing. I actually don’t care. I prefaced this by saying it’s my opinion and that in and of itself is open to change. Now if you can show me a place that doesn’t fit my aforementioned description then I am open to changing my mind about spaces in D.C. Until then, however, no dice!