Newer coffee bars emulate Italy’s, where one downs an espresso in three sips while standing at the counter and then leaves. In my 20 or so days in Italy over the past two years I saw not one person sitting at an espresso bar table working on a laptop. The linked NY Times article reports that recently-opened coffee bars in NYC feature counters and chest-high tables, no chairs, to get away from what one cafe owner calls “the home office away from home.” Every morning I meet friends at a local Starbucks. It’s a typical Starbucks, with tables, chairs (hard-seat and upholstered), and regulars who use it as an office. Two weeks ago it closed for renovations. The initial plans did not include tables. The baristas, who know our habits and needs, told the architect they could not get rid of the tables, no doubt picturing our confusion as we milled aimlessly about like dogs whose favorite sleeping pillows have been thrown out. The tables were restored to the plans.