Even after diversifying, I put Victrola at the tip top of my list. First of all, great coffee (almost a given, right? Most of these independent places have that part of the formula down pat.) Their chai, which I opted for this week, avoids the too-sweet issue that plagues so many cups of chai. Always one free (drip) refill on all coffee and espresso drinks!
Also: the proper music/coffeehouse-buzz balance. Couches in the back if you want to really relax, tables of all sizes spread throughout, your pick of window-side natural light at the front or that hunkering-down-lampside-to-get-work-done-while-people-watching vibe at the tables in the back. (For the record, I generally prefer the latter...)
Victrola doesn't mess around with art. All the non-windowed walls feature huge canvases of paintings, photographs and other mixed media, and always include a posted biography about the featured artist. Currently, the walls are exhibiting photography of the Hmoung tribe in Laos - stunning portraits by photographer Tara Clark that I highly recommend checking out if you're in the area this month.
Victrola does well with lighting - individual spotlights aimed at each piece of artwork, individual lamps on each table, not to mention all the natural sunlight flooding in from the large windows at the front.
A wealth of laptop-friendly power outlets by all the tables! Though they offer free wi-fi during the week, they turn it off on Saturdays and Sundays to observe their No-Wi-Fi Weekends, proffering the motto, "Hang out and Talk."
My only complaint would be the baristas. They're undeniably talented at making coffee, (check out Victrola's blog for evidence!), but many of them have a little bit of the cool, hard, urbanite edge to them that seems to say, I've been doing this forever, please just order your beverage and move on. Not quite as much of the down-to-Earth friendliness or conversational opportunity as I've found at other, less frequented places.