I had a cup of coffee on Wednesday with Susan, the founder and force behind Oakland Local. We met at Revolution Coffee on 7th at Peralta. (Near the Oakland West BART station and just across the street from the giant Oakland Post Office.) I have memories of visiting this neighborhood many years ago with my Dad. He had to drop off his church newsletter at the bulk mail counter in the Post Office. West Oakland seemed a lot more run down back then. There seems to be new life and vitality in this area now. I know that the removal of the Cypress Structure after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 helped with the revitalization.
Revolution is a coffee house with a distinct California aesthetic. The walls are covered with an eclectic patina of signs and artwork. Inside the front door is a cast iron wood burning stove which was giving off a fragrant warmth. There didn’t seem to be two matching chairs in the place. The morning sun was streaming through the front window. It was a brisk morning and the light, the wood stove, and a cup of coffee combined to create a very pleasant aura. A few minutes before Susan arrived a guy walked in and asked the women behind the counter if he could “borrow the 88” in the side room. They said “sure,” and he sat down and tinkered on the piano for a while.
Susan shared a bit about her work in putting Oakland Local together and about the community that’s forming around bringing collaborative, micro-local journalism to life in the East bay. Maybe it’s just my enthusiasm (fostered by being new in town) but it seems like this community is pulsing with life. There’s definitely a pulse at Revolution.