Ah, gentrification, the perennial curse of migrants and the working classes. Imagine this: you migrate to a new country and establish your family in an inner-city area. More immigrants follow from your region and others, settling in the same place. Specialty shops, cafes and restaurants start to appear to serve the diversity of the growing population. Within no time, words and phrases like Â‘multi-ethnicÂ’, Â‘melting potÂ’ and Â‘dynamicÂ’ start to be thrown around. First the hippies come, followed by the students and hipsters, and finally the young professionals. Soon yummy mummies in wayfarers are chatting to their graphic designer husbands on the sidewalks. Ph. D dissertations on the post-structuralist readings of Kubrick films are typed on shiny macbooks over Turkish tea and kebabs. Suddenly your neighbourhood is expensive, over-hyped and full of trendy bars selling micro-brewed beers and shops that only seem to stock one item. Welcome to NÃ¸rrebro. Not that IÂ’m complaining of course.
In the haze of cosy cafes and bars that populate the side streets off NÃ¸rrebrogade, it is rare to find one owned by a local Â– or at least someone who hasnÂ’t moved to NÃ¸rrebro in the past decade. CafÃ© Arabica is a new addition to the area, but its owner certainly isnÂ’t. Naim Al Kassab, Palestinian by origin, was born and bred in NÃ¸rrebro – Â“one of the firstÂ”, he says with a smile. He opened Arabica in September and on first impression, the cafÃ© does not seem that different to any of the other design-conscious NÃ¸rrebro cafÃ©s. The use of restored second-hand and recycled furniture is prominent: there are picnic tables and benches, leather bar stools, green armchairs, table legs that look like Jenga blocks, and even a seat that is built into the woodwork of the walls. Music plays from a turntable, and record sleeves cover one wall; kitsch chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and candles and colourful flowers sit on the windowsill. The space is airy, spacious and uncluttered. The large windows make this a perfect place to look out onto the colourful BlÃ¥gÃ¥rdsgade street life.