I wish I could give this place negative stars...I used to be a fairly regular customer because a friend worked there. I was back recently and was shocked at how much it's changed, and not for the better.
The jazz is SO LOUD it's nearly impossible to have a conversation, much less read or study. The baristas will turn it down if you ask, but if the owner is around, he'll just crank it back up again and roll his eyes at you if you ask him to turn it back down, usually with a snide comment.
The prices were the highest in madison and they just raised them higher. You'd think the drinks would be mind-blowingly awesome for the price tag, but they're barely average. It can also take up to ten, yes TEN minutes to get your drink.
The sign that says "free wireless" is a flat out lie. On days it's actually working, you need a password (fine) to get a password you need to buy something (um...o...k...) the password is good for 2 hours (wtf?) to get another one, you need to buy something else. (seriously...)
They don't serve tea. Don't even bring it up. You'll get a snide "this is a COFFEE house, we serve COFFEE" remark.
They don't serve sandwiches or other "real" food. If you ask about it the guy will say "this is a COFFEE house, not a RESTAURANT, we serve COFFEE"
I bought a "day old" brownie...it had mold. That doesn't happen in a day...the rest of the bakery looked okay, if a bit stale.
They have a "kids room" which would be cool, if it was ever cleaned and if parents actually kept their kids in there instead of letting them scream and run around the rest of the place.
Good luck finding a half way decent chair or table. All of them are obviously dragged in off the curb, half of them are just this side of broken, all are filthy.
If you are hanging out with your friends, having fun discussing things, and are getting loud, their is a "conference room" you can be in so you're not disturbing the other customers who are there. The catch is, you have to pay $20.
All the baristas are relatively friendly, though the bald guy can be rude if it's busy and the thin guy is obnoxious with the constant stream of "up-selling". I don't recommend ordering anything when "the mother" is working, she's likely to make you an iced tea instead of the hot chocolate (she did this to me twice) when her baby is crying (yes, she brings her two kids to work)
So, DON'T come here if:
You want to read, study, web surf or talk (you won't be able to focus or hear)
You want to hang out with a group of friends (you'll be asked to move to a different room, then told you have to pay for it.)
You want to relax with a cup of tea (they don't serve it, won't serve it, and will belittle you for even bringing it up.)
You enjoy clean establishments (They never mop or vacuum, use tables at your own risk and check the chair before you sit...)
You like being able to see what you're doing (don't, for god sakes DON'T turn on any of the overhead lights. The owner WILL yell at you. guess he doesn't like people being able to see how filthy the place is)
Please don't waste your time here. There are three other fantastic coffee shops within blocks of Escape Java Joint. Namely, Mother Fools, Ground Zero and EVP.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.