A colleague wrote me that he thought that if we had more good pubs around, our problems would be solved. I think he's onto something!
Pubs (I'm not talking nightclubs, but the classic corner pub) are great equalizers. Whether you're drinking a lemon-aid or a beer, people sit together and talk at pubs. And not just with like minded folks. A good corner pub gets people talking who wouldn't normally. And, at some of the better Australian ones I've been to, folks are not ashamed to state their position and defend it. Yet everyone comes back for more. Eye opening.
Creating a culture that enhances this discourse is important, whether it's at a coffee shop, a pizza parlor, or a pub.