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Berkeley, CA 94704
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In 1955, Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem, “A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley.” In it, he recounted that amidst the vines obscuring the porch of his new residence, he found a decent coffee pot. He was approximately four blocks from the location of our new cafe. Jack Kerouac was a mere two—a beer can’s throw, you might say. We like to imagine them writing their respective works fueled by cup after cup. We only wish we could have been there to pour them another.
If coffee fuels the creative mind, then our new cafe will indeed be haunted with literary ghosts. In the shadow of the university’s campanile, this will be our first brick-and-mortar in Berkeley and our third in the East Bay. Straddling the liminal space between campus and city, we’ve worked to create a setting quiet enough where the muses’ whispers reach the ears of aspiring writers, but welcoming enough (with seating both inside and out) to offer respite from the traffic of students, buses, and commuters on bikes.
Our space, which was once an Indian eatery and before that, a fast food joint serving bottomless soft drinks, was reimagined by Lincoln Lighthill and shares walls with WeWork. It is the first of any of our cafes to feature a Modbar, where most of the machinery is tucked beneath the counter. This means that the baristas won’t have to peer around glorious stainless steel machinery to say hello. With the warm tones of our plywood counters and the campanile’s chimes ringing on the hour, you may just feel like you’ve discovered a new and strange second home, where the phrase “give me a refill” turns into “a macchiato, please.”