The simplicity of Blackbird’s drink menu can be perplexing to the wayward Frappuccino fan or others who come in search of fancy coffee drinks.
“That’s why we had to make the ‘no espresso machine’ sign,” said Molly Roberts, pointing toward the message during a brief lull in a busy lunch shift at the cafe last week. “People are sometimes like, ‘I thought this was a coffee shop?’ Well, we are a shop that has coffee, but … it’s a type of place that some people get and some people don’t.”
In addition to hosting live music and having ample supplies of coffee, books and art, Blackbird is, at heart, an anarchist book store and community space, explained Roberts, who co-founded the business with Miles Montalbano and Christy Carter last October. Like other such establishments—she cited San Francisco’s Adobe Books & Arts Cooperative as an example—Blackbird is more dedicated to community-building and skill-sharing than to moving product.