By LILITH VAN RY
This one-of-a-kind shop was dreamed up by three guys sitting in a room together throwing ideas at one another, the logistics followed later. The goal was to create a new “rad” location, where anyone can feel as though they are welcomed, and in a unique environment. With three seperate rooms, and three different environments, they truly do cater to everyone.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing and popularity for this trio though, having residence in the old Augie’s building. Redlands was not initially welcoming to a new coffee shop opening in the home of Augie’s, a long term community staple. Despite the animosity that was faced in the beginning, eventually “people move on”, as Zac Morris, district manager says. Now that caution has been put aside, there is hardly a place to sit in the hopping, hip coffee shop.
There were many changes made in the transition between Augie’s and Back Alley within the building itself. In the middle room, the drop ceiling was removed, as well as a wall. By removing the wall, the kitchen was made smaller, but there was room to install a bar, seating four additional people. Within this room, there was a concrete tree poured in the corner, giving the room a very homey vibe.
Adorning the walls, is a rotating art collection, selected by local artist Aeron Brown, owner of Threshold Art Gallery. Brown and Morris work together to have amazing and fresh art in the store at all times. In the alleyway, there is more art, murals done by local artists, typically following a feline theme.
However, Back Alley isn’t limiting themselves to just coffee. By the end of the year, Morris hopes to have their beer and wine licence, with beer on tap at the coffee bar. There is also an art studio (also available by the end of the year), and a private event location in the back in the works, and potential for another upstairs space depending on how these next developments go. Morris, being a musician, also promotes an open mic in the alley, where anyone can sign up to perform. On Thursday nights, there is a movie shown in the alleyway, with popcorn provided.
Whether someone is looking for a quiet place to study, a fun place to go with friends, or a cool conversation with friendly baristas, Back Alley has it all.