Oldenburg’s ‘third places’ i.e., public places for relaxation and socialization away from ‘home’ and ‘work’ place, contribute significantly to the wellbeing of society. However, with continuous modernization, technological and social transformations, the third places of contemporary times have turned into multipurpose ‘mixed spaces’ that combine individual leisure, interactions, productive work and even virtual socialization. In view of the rapid transition of ‘third places’ this study investigates the third-place characteristics and leisure in the Indian Coffee House (ICH), Shimla, an old establishment that has long survived intense competition from modern branded Café culture and continues to remain a popular hub for community social bonding. In the current digital era characterized by people seen increasingly withdrawn into their individual virtual cocoons (even when in company), this study concludes that ICH continues to retain its distinct traditional ‘authentic third place’ appeal where people are still drawn to enjoy real time social interaction ‘Together Together’, as opposed to enjoying ‘Alone Together’.
Keywords: Third Place, Coffee House, Leisure