We ordered a second pot of tea just to keep our table for a few more hours, like a beach-goer inserting more coins in a soon to be expired meter to preserve her spot of sandy paradise: The solarium at the Oxford Exchange was the perfect place to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon in Tampa. We listened to remixed versions of jazz classics in the white skylit room (which reminded me of the Madklubbin in Tivoli) as we drank tea and worked our way through the traditional spread of savory and sweet; like the music itself, the snacks were a mix of classics (scones, macarons) and riffs on childhood favorites (peanut butter, jelly).
We read an issue of Kinfolk purchased in O.E.’s well-curated bookshop which harkened back to the booksellers of yesteryear: hardbound copies of Hemingway, Greene, Nabakov lined the glossy dark wood shelves, neighbors to the Remington and Royal typewriters which completed the old university feel. On the second story, patrons read in the lounge chairs overlooking the cafe, like students at a law library. The proprietor, ironically also a McDonald’s franchisee, built O.E. as an homage to old England and old England was alive and well on Sunday for all those families, hipsters, students, and even lawyers looking to hold onto their Sundays for just a little while longer.