Naked Coffee: Changes
September 5, 2017 || Adrianne Nakagawa
“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”
The two-story cottage on the corner of Q&15th is a modest entity. Its Victorian façade of matte earth tones blends easily into the rows of residential lots flanking it on each cross-street. Out back is a small courtyard shrouded by two Japanese maples with a single line of weathered Tibetan prayer flags strung between them. In the courtyard there are potted plants and a 4-piece patio set where Jim will occasionally post up to enjoy a book and a small latte. Adjoining the patio is a small laundry room with framed photographs depicting the original building during the early 1900s.
In Feb 2002, the Naked Lounge Coffee & Tea House moved into the ground-floor of this historic Midtown building, and from this home base, we grew our roots into the surrounding neighborhoods establishing locations in Oak Park, East Sac, and Downtown. Since then, very little has changed at our original location. Even our queue of regulars has scores of veteran members from days of yore.
I love our regulars. There is a certain courtship in learning their names, their drink orders, their dogs’ names. Manuel is one of my favorites, and he tells me stories of when the apartment complex cater-cornered to the shop used to be a giant empty lot with a guerilla community garden. Those were the infant years of the Naked Lounge, somewhere around 2004 when Sean (owner of Temple Coffee) and Jason (co-owner of Old Soul) used to work as baristas in the café with CP (owner of Naked Coffee). He chuckles at the memory of the three of them behind the same counter together.
Those were different times indeed. At the current growth rate, by 2020 there will be over a half-million people living in the one-hundred square miles of the city of Sacramento (hopefully not crammed 3-deep into overpriced single loft apartments). But those transplants won’t know the depth and character of Naked Coffee that make its flagship café worth a visit, not at first glance.
Starting Tuesday, Sept 5, 2017, we will be closing the Naked Lounge Midtown for a brief 5-day interlude to update and remodel. I have encountered concerns over the impending changes, understandably so. Roughly 75% of our customers are regulars with a fondness for the Naked Lounge and its thrifted orange-velvet couches.
Be assured, you won’t return to find a generic box set of monochromatic/rustic revival/Pinterest design motifs. We’ve cultivated success by being ourselves, and our primary objective remains the same as it ever was: to provide our patrons with good coffee (anyway you like it) in a comfortable environment. A chair is still a chair.
As a gesture of good faith, we’ll be keeping our brewers running during the closure with a familiar face to serve hot and iced coffee from 6a-10p every day, free of charge. Consider it our way of saying thanks.
Thank you for 15 years of keeping our doors open by making us a part of your routine and your life.
Barista means bartender in Italian. In my experience, mixing cocktails and making coffee aren’t all that different, and the persona of the bartender is the same — someone to fashion your beverages, lend an ear on the hard days, and buy you a drink when you’re down on your luck. Jon is a regular at our East Sac location and has been for a few years now. He drew the parallel between Naked and the popular 80s sitcom, Cheers. The show centers around the daily humdrum of a nondescript local’s bar in Boston and the intertwining lives of the staff and patrons therein.
The charm of Cheers is in the tagline “where everybody knows your name” imbuing a place to hang up your hat, relax, and enjoy a moment’s respite. At the end of the day, the Naked Lounge will still be just that. Even so, I can already feel a twinge of premature nostalgia for the good ol’ days.
Bowie said it best: “Turn and face the strange.”