When friends or family drop by Santa Cruz for a visit, the first stop on the tour of Santa Cruz is always Verve 1010 Fair. This surf outpost is a haven for first-daters, beach-crawlers and hometown coffee lovers. Located in what used to be a knick-knack plastics factory, 1010 Fair is already a landmark in one of Santa Cruz’s most refined neighborhoods. Verve’s fourth Santa Cruz café is tucked between the University and West Cliff, with nearby Natural Bridges and Wilder Ranch offering some first-rate post-coffee activities.
Stepping into the store during the day is like stepping into a copy of Midcentury Magazine. Every surface sets the stage for poised beverage presentation: glass and wood reminiscent of Post and Beam era design, industrial textures juxtaposed with plant life and angular artwork from Jeremiah Kille. Even the custom, four-group Kees Van Der Westen espresso machine maintains an elegant contrast of airplane riveting and curved steel with a glowing, organic front panel. At once you might feel like you’re in an airplane hangar that doubles as a hanging garden. Sprudge writer Jordan Michelman describes it best, “Think floating plants, macrame, lots of natural light to let the ocean seep in, and a comfy outdoor parklet for the hundreds upon hundreds of nice days the people of Santa Cruz get to enjoy each year.”
Co-Founders Ryan O’Donovan and Colby Barr made a lot of hands-on decisions in the design process, evident in the careful balance of light, art, and greenery. They are the eyes and hands that captured the medium-format photographs (subjects include long-time Verve producer Juan Benitez and the collapsed pier in Davenport, California) modestly placed in the hall. The leafy wallpaper, communal tables, the geometrical artwork, images revealing a foreign way of life, even the intricate sign painting - they all tell a story about what Verve is trying to accomplish in the specialty market and invite the consumer to share in the burgeoning experience of coffee. Manager Naida Lindberg points out that “the café is where Farmlevel and Streetlevel finally meet after years of flirting. It’s here that the relationship is most clearly visible.” Modern cafes offer more than a quality product. A visitor can enjoy culture and aesthetic in tandem with ethics; an uncommon pairing. 1010 Fair is the culmination of everything Verve has learned about the consumer and the coffee professional, and everything that technology, lifestyle, and art have to offer to your morning commute.
Most people don’t walk into a coffee bar and get existential with it. If you’re not interested in analyzing design, you can still enjoy excellent service and quality. I usually like to sit and enjoy one of the seasonal By The Cup offerings. The in-counter Mod Bar is an amazing piece of brewing technology, so it’s worth watching the process and chatting with your barista. If you aren’t in the mood for caffeine, a cool pint of Jamaica Cascara (made from the skin of the coffee cherry) will always satisfy. Pastries from Manresa bread pair with anything and everything on the menu. No matter what ends up in your cup the first time, make this café a part of your ritual. In the words of our NorCal Training Manager Kendall Cheap: you’ll be prepared to embrace the world.
Words & Images: Parker Batterson
Excerpt: Jordan Michelman