If coffee fuels the creative mind, then Berkeley, a city named for an eighteenth-century philosopher, is a place for thinkers. Richard Diebenkorn painted luminous canvases right up the street. Jack Kerouac was living just blocks away when he received his first copies of On the Road. And Allen Ginsberg’s poem “A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley” reports that he “found a good coffeepot in the vines by the porch.”
Our first brick-and-mortar cafe there straddles the liminal space between campus and city. The location—once an Indian eatery and before that a fast food joint—was reimagined for us by architect Lincoln Lighthill. With a spacious bar, each brew method is separated and each drink prepared, as always, à la minute.
It’s also our first cafe to feature a full 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” and guests will be able to see every detail of coffee preparation. Precisely milled layers of plywood add warmth to the bar’s surface and the cafe’s ceiling and provide a pleasing contrast to the gleaming coffee equipment.
With the campanile’s chimes ringing on the hour, the atmosphere is vibrant enough to keep you interested, but calm enough to offer respite from the traffic of students, buses, and commuters on bikes. You may just feel like you’ve discovered a strange new home of your own.
Our Berkeley cafe is located at 2118 University Avenue and is open every day, 7 am to 7 pm. Our Friends & Family event is Thursday, October 13, 9 am–3 pm. Grand opening is Saturday, October 15.
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