CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> Pearl Cafe
Although rather low-profile from the street, once you get inside the Pearl Cafe it's quite spacious and visually engaging. The walls are painted like an early 1970s Marin County coffeehouse -- for some reason the town of Fairfax comes to mind -- and several levels define the space, furnished somewhat haphazardly with mix-and-match tables and chairs. It was a Tuesday afternoon when my famous Uncle Tom and I stopped in for a drink, and somebody was playing a piano over on the side wall. There's a toy table and gaily-painted play area in the far back, and the cool textured gold ceiling tops off the eclectic decor. Since it was a few days after Christmas when U.T. and I stopped in, a big Christmas tree was still in evidence, under which a dog was happily slumbering.
But it isn't all Marin County; the chandelier and the gilded ceiling suggest shades of the Old West, too, along with a turn-of-the-century feeling combined with a bit of cool hip art which one might find at the Lux Coffee Bar. What decorative message am I getting here, anyway? I seem to detect an 1890s organic hippie-hip-cool child-friendly Deadhead traditional coffeehouse mix. Ouch, how confusing! Is it 2000 yet? Actually, it wasn't even quite 1999 yet. I suppose it was the confusion of the start of the new year, all those nines which are all squares of three, making the year have nine threes, and three times three equals nein, nein, nein!
But on to the coffee. The Pearl is yet another tasteful Seattle coffeehouse which uses Caffé Vita beans. (Uncle Tom spotted the Vita sign in the window first thing.) My double short cappuccino was served in a commune-like brown mug. The foam was overly airy, and although it was Vita I can't say they were very good shots. I drank my cappuccino at the long wooden bar which looks like it's more appropriate for sliding mugs of beer down, or dancing on, either drunkenly or risquély -- hmm, there's that Old West saloon theme again.
There is a calendar on the wall listing the Pearl's poetry readings and live jazz schedule. The patrons were mostly twenty-somethings, probably a good deal of them students from the University of Washington. There were some rather juvenile paintings on the walls of young women, seemingly school-aged. My god, I feel like I'm back in middle school again! No, grade school! No, it's -- it's --
We didn't stay any longer than necessary, since my gray-haired Uncle Tom found the noisy youthful crowd a bit daunting, and the place was quite overheated as well. And I felt myself sliding back, ever so far back, reverting dangerously close to my date of birth...
Speaking of returning to one's infancy, the following is an e-mail exchange from a year ago with my Bay Area friend about a mutual friend's life as a mother of three:The weather was perfect yesterday for a newt hunt in Butano State Park. Soon after we passed the gate, VickyBob stopped the minivan and got out to save a newt in the middle of the road from being run over -- either by us or by the massive dump truck right behind us. The rain let up, but everything was thoroughly wet, and the forest was very dark in some places, giving the feeling of a primeval scene. On the trail things were a bit more frustrating; we passed five or six inert banana slugs before the babysitter's 7-year-old daughter noticed a newt by the side of the trail, which we picked up and passed from hand to hand.