There is a handful of co-working spaces Downtown—Work In Progress, Co-Operate on Main, Regus—with others on the way. Jennifer and Michael Cornthwaite, owners of Downtown Cocktail Room, recently opened up their own space, Proof Of Concept in October, offering a cozier, homier atmosphere than one would expect from traditional co-working offices.
When you walk in the first thing you notice is the warm chocolate-colored wood contrasted with the white, airy walls. “Michael hates having vinyl floors,” Jennifer says. “It’s like bad skin.” A large conference room with couches and a desk is separated by glass doors. The community space can be used by anyone with a membership (which start at $200, with discounts offered to early members and small teams of two or three people). The six small individual office spaces are currently occupied.
Throughout the 1,500-or-so-square-foot house, there are bursts of vibrant color against the stark white walls—a red horseshoe catching good luck above the doorway, green plants both inside and outside, and pops of pastel from books and artwork.
There is a small private bathroom and a little kitchen. We got a little off-topic on our tour of the space, talking about the importance of separate bathrooms. Jennifer used Ali Wong’s stand-up bit about pregnant women chapping their nipples as an example. Nobody wants their ankles exposed in a bathroom stall when they need to do this.
Past the office spaces and bathroom, there is a small kitchen with standard amenities—a refrigerator, microwave, toaster and coffee pot. Regulars of the Cornthwaites’ shuttered The Beat coffee shop will be happy to know that the grinders found a new home at the Proof of Concept kitchen.
And part of The Beat lives on in the back patio as well. Five of the old wooden benches line the side of the house with small tables and chairs on the patio. The plants liven the space as juniper bushes and succulents are shaded by large willow-like trees. String lights zigzag across from the awning to the private conference room that can fit up to 18 people. (Music producer Ryan Lofty’s private studio space is in the back area as well.) Jennifer says they plan on hosting happy hours as a way for people who want to socialize but do not necessarily want to go to the bars at night.
“We want to make it as nice as possible,” Jennifer says. “It makes work not so shitty.”
Proof Of Concept is located on 623 S. 8th St. For membership info email Michael Cornthwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org.