Inklings to open on Main Street for coffee, tea, community meetings

Owner, Valley Community Church to make building available for public gatherings

Inklings, a name associated with a literary discussion group from the University of Oxford in the 1930s, will open in the next month or so as a similar type coffee and tea house at 530 Main St. in downtown Pleasanton.

The new coffee shop will be located in the building once leased by Round Table Pizza, which has been closed for two years.

Mark Lortz, Inklings' owner told the city's Planning Commission that he plans to convert the former pizza parlor into a meeting hall for community events as well as a coffee shop. The facility will be open to the public for concerts, lectures, art displays and various public meetings.

The new business is affiliated with Valley Community Church, which has operated a coffee and tea operation in the lobby of its church at 4455 Del Valle Pkwy.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a conditional use permit to operate the meeting hall aspect of the new business with the caveat that if wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages are ever served there, Lortz will have to obtain a special use permit first.

Inklings will occupy and use both floors of the building, which at one time was a destination for soccer and other youth sports clubs end-of-season meals and award ceremonies. The new floor plan will accommodate small wedding ceremonies and receptions, movie nights and other similar types of events.

The first floor is being renovated with a coffee bar and table seating, an assembly area with a portable stage, a green room which performers and lecturers can occupy when not using the stage, two small meeting rooms, a small kitchen and restrooms.

Lortz said the assembly area will host a variety of special events, which will primarily be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Small church gatherings also will use the building, primarily on Sundays.

When the meeting hall is not being used for special events, it will be available as a study hall and community gathering place, much like the Oxford University Inklings was with frequent meetings of creative writers and lovers of imaginative literature who gathered for readings and criticism of their own work, and for and for general conversation.

Inklings in Pleasanton will be open from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. In addition to selling coffee and tea drinks, the coffee shop will offer pastries and snacks. Outdoor cooking equipment also will be placed in the adjoining 71-car parking lot for use during occasional outdoor events.

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14 people like this
Posted by mg
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2015 at 9:41 am

Wow, it surely feels like the downtown ideas are retrograding to the 50’s.

It surely looks and seems that the Pleasanton Planning Commission are the dumbest folks around; they continue to exhibit very little creativity.

Oh yes; re-selling Costco muffins is another genius idea,NOT.

11 people like this
Posted by Nosy Neighbors
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Dec 30, 2015 at 10:07 am

Nosy Neighbors is a registered user.

The Vegas line puts the over/under for "Inklings" at 18 months before they close. I'm going (& hoping for) the under.

14 people like this
Posted by thank you
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2015 at 10:20 am

To Inklings, thank you for filling another vacant spot in Pleasanton's key downtown region. Variety is needed and although this will be another coffee type of shop, the RT Pizza site has been vacant for more than a year and it is an eyesore. The building which at one time was a bank, is rotting before our eyes.

Even with the Pizza place out of business, the parking lot is full all day long, another sign of too little parking in our core downtown area.

I look forward to frequenting a non-chain coffee shop, so thank you!!

7 people like this
Posted by Happy Helen
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 30, 2015 at 10:33 am

So when is Inklings opening? I'm delighted to hear about this venue, offering such a wide variety of uses that can benefit the residents of Pleasanton and the Valley~! And I also like the definition of the word "Inklings" - sounds like a wonderful winner to me~!

4 people like this
Posted by Jill
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Dec 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

I am Glad to see the building will have a new tenant. With rents so expensive downtown I wish them luck. Now if we could just get rid of the idea of moving costco to Pleasanton...........

6 people like this
Posted by Inge
a resident of Rosepointe
on Dec 30, 2015 at 11:20 am

This sounds like a great new venue - lots of opportunity for our community!
I'm happy we'll have another multi-purpose space :)

10 people like this
Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Gatewood
on Dec 30, 2015 at 11:30 am

I am excited to see this building is being occupied after being empty for 2 years, that it will be a place for public gatherings, and that it will be open later in the evening as place our young people can hang out. This end of Main Street can really use this type of establishment especially since Tully's is closing. Thank you to VCC for taking a chance on opening Inklings. They are doing great things in the community! And yes, I attend VCC.

7 people like this
Posted by Thank you for clarifying
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2015 at 11:31 am

This article is a lot clearer than the earlier one in the PW. Many readers made all sorts of assumptions about this business. Hours open seems to serve a variety of crowds throughout the day and having food options makes this more than just another coffee shop. To the first post on this article - no where did I read "reselling Costco muffins". The fact that this space will be renovated and open early morning to late at night is a great start for our sleepy downtown. I look forward to hearing more!

4 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Boring. Boring and more boring. Really? This fabulous space? Heck could have been also a cool spot for teens? Skating? Game spot? What about our kids???!!!!!

5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Yeah right Chris. Let's turn it into a place for teens so that they can trash it because parents in this town don't believe in personal responsibility. No thanks, an empty building is better than that. Or if you are so interested in having teens around, invite all of them to your house and then you can clean up after them. That's why the ice cream places were run off by the landlord, he was tired of the teens trashing the place and riding their skateboards all over the premises.

29 people like this
Posted by Kelly
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2015 at 1:33 pm

This news really makes me sad and frustrated. What is happening to our downtown? Why is it that every new, fun, good place to eat is going to either Dublin or Livermore? It feels like we are constantly leaving Pleasanton to go out to eat, when we live just walking distance from downtown. Frontier Spice, Mangia Mi and Sabio were all great additions, but there are a lot of things we are missing downtown, including some type of sports bar (Sauced similar) and place to take a family that is louder and easier to take kids (round table/livermore alehouse/hopyard similar). Also would be great to have a place for my friends and I meet and have some cocktails without getting a table at a restaurant.

This venue is huge, had an alcohol permit with plenty of parking with so much possibility and it sounds like they are turning it into a Church, which is very frustrating. An important question that I think should be transparent is will this be considered a 'business' or a 'religious institution that receives tax empt status. This is the only way that I can see how they are going to be able to survive financially. What is wrong with using their Church for church gatherings? Or the firehouse art center for community gatherings?

My last comment is that the Inklings met in college rooms, or also informally every Tuesday midday at Pubs, not coffee shops. The Eagle and Child pub (commonly known as the Bird and Baby or simply just the Bird) in Oxford where the Inklings met informally on Tuesday mornings during term.Later pub meetings were at The Lamb and Flag across the street, and in earlier years the Inklings also met irregularly in yet other pubs, but The Eagle and Child is the best known.

Will we be able to grab a beer at Inklings and discuss our ideas and vision for downtown Pleasanton?

17 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm

This sounds just like what it sounds like. Confusion! So really, ... what is it? Occasinal bar b q equipment outside in the parking lot? Meeting hall? A coffee shop with pastries and snacks,and wedding ceremonies,alcoholic beverages served, AND a place for church meetings? This doesn't sound like anything from Oxford to me. Wow, somebody's really got it going on!? Not mentioning the fact that this will take away every parking place left in town, but the new business affiliated with Valley Community Church,which has operated a coffee and tea operation in the lobby of its church at 4455 Del Valle Prkwy., should note, that the bible clearly states, "NO MONEY CHANGING IN THE CHURCH!" (shame on you Valley Community Church) You can twist it however you want to,but I would not count on good fortune in this endeavor,based on this fact alone!

3 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Not all teens are out to cause trouble. Profile much? Not all blacks..Not all whites... I just believe it could have been something a little more fun, family oriented is all... Coffee again?

12 people like this
Posted by Robin Taggart
a resident of Laguna Vista
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm

I am simply amazed with the responses to this article and Inklings. There is a lot of angry people who live here. My thoughts...MOVE if you are not satisfied! Seriously! I love downtown. I am looking forward to see what Inklings will do with the space to accommodate all of us who live here and frequent Main Street.

My concern is with the 2 real-estate offices that are moving in with store front windows. This is the type of business that should occupy an upstairs offices.

Inklings no matter what they serve will be a place where you can go, get a coffee or soda and hangout. I'm thinking of the many teens that I know that love to just sit around and chat! Better yet...they can hangout in a public space in which people like me can role model kind behavior.

I am first in line to read a classic piece of literature or modern work on a mic in a very public place!!! Maybe just maybe this space will be flexible and grow into a perfect place for all of us to sit and enjoy.

10 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Thank you to the positive comments. To all the complainers, I don't see any of you stepping up to do anything better:)

7 people like this
Posted by Jennifer
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Agree with Confusion and the comments about the disappointment and lost opportunity for better use of this space. It seems unfair to our current downtown business owners and other coffee shops if this 'coffee shop' is exempt from property tax because of it's Church Owner and religious gatherings.

California property tax laws provide for three exemptions that may be claimed on church property:

• The welfare exemption, for property owned by a religious organization and used exclusively for one or more
of the above activities or any other religious activities . The exemption may also apply to leased property if
both the lessor and lessee qualify . In other words, both the organization and property use must qualify for the

Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:46 pm

The Inklings were not a religious group and did not meet in coffee shops. They were a group of all Male writers who met and discussed their ideas at a pub over a pint of beer.

6 people like this
Posted by Jay
a resident of Birdland
on Dec 30, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I would really like to know how a coffee shop that is only open from 7am - 1pm in this large space is going to make it financially. There has to be some other source of income. Is the city contributing to support this business? Or are they going to use Church donations?

Like this comment
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Dec 30, 2015 at 3:13 pm

I guess I should be clearer in my response...seems there are too many first world problems around here!

5 people like this
Posted by sandyhoc
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Dec 30, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Maybe this will be similar to a venue created in Visalia by the Presbyterian church. (the property is behind the church) See info about 210 Center at Web Link. I'm sure they've figured out the tax status of the operation, been in business for several years. It's a good venue for evening community forums. Note they have a good sound system and host jazz and dance events. Used to have afternoon hours. It was very friendly to teens after school (note, no longer open in afterschool hours), but was a place to hang out, have a casual business meeting, etc. Concerns would be how this will survive financially and religion/ministry issues for VCC. Could be a good addition to the mix of places available to non-profits for events - which currently are LIMITED. It will be interesting to see their rate schedule.

2 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

@jennifer- interesting comments on being a tax exempt business downtown, maybe the church could buy the property outright, hold on to it a couple of years then sell it to Ponderosa Homes, perfect spot for condos!!

7 people like this
Posted by Stupid is, as stupid does
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Dec 31, 2015 at 7:34 am

This is only .0000001% of the population's opinion. And they are not very bright. First, the hours of operation are 7am - 1am, guess coffee should work ! Second, I am quite sure the church has it all figured out tax wise, since they have been running a coffee shop at the church location located in an area zoned residential and no one has made a stink about that. Third, they obviously don't care about rent as income, no way the previous tenants sold enough food to accommodate today's possible rent charges. Fourth, Another coffee shop needed ? NO ! Fifth, the demographics have changed and this will be Milpitas soon. Six, our downtown is missing opportunities to do better. Seventh, instead of building a larger gap between the Oasis/Brewery/Pleasanton Hotel/ Baronies side of main st. and the west side, the PLEASANTON PLANNING and DOWNTOWN ASSOCIATION should be doing just that ! PLANNING for the future. Not these stupid little patches, that say look at us, we justify our titles. Stupid is, as stupid does. Eighth, anyone who thinks this is a poor, poor plan, call the mayor and the church and let them know. I will.

Pleasanton use to have some great planners in the 70s and 80s, you are living in the results now, to bad they are doomed now to forget what made for great decisions once.

8 people like this
Posted by Pandoras Box
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2015 at 11:51 am

Pandora’s Box

Unfortunately the planning commission has forgotten the City moto. The City of Planed Progress. This is neither good planning and it is certainly not Progress. The planning commission has opened a real Pandora’s Box I fear that now every denomination is going to want to have a presents down town. Just like the banks salons and most recently real-estate offices.

This is a sad way to start the new year.

8 people like this
Posted by Megan
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm

So sad to see the citizens of my town acting like such children throwing their tantrums.

First off, from what this article says a church is NOT moving into our downtown. It says a coffee shop and meeting hall is going into a building that been empty for two years. The new business might be affiliated with the Valley Community Church but it is obvious from this article that coffee shop and concert venue will be just that. I'm glad a new coffee shop is going in and that a church which has helped out this city in the past will be sprucing up such an eyesore downtown. I'm not sure but I believe this is the church that helped our own Amador Valley put in a parking structure and paid for the whole thing only asking to be able to use it on Sunday's when the school isn't in session.

From what I have heard through friends who work downtown this place which actually be very hip. I believe the coffee shop at the church right now makes blue bottle coffee which is very good. I hope they keep making the same coffee downtown. Also since they will be open late this will be the perfect place to go and meet friends for dessert after dinner and maybe get a cup of tea. I don't know if any one else has noticed how dead our downtown feels sometimes at night but this coffee shop being open until 1Am should be a nice secondary option to going out to a bar.

Why hasn't anyone here mentioned how two new REAL ESTATE company's have gobbled up store front space in our small diminishing downtown. Come on people. You're upset over a coffee shop?

This place is also suppose to hold live music concerts, poetry reading, public dances, and debates. What an amazing public service they are doing! Shame on anyone jumping to conclusions. Welcome Inklings!

11 people like this
Posted by Tully's Fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Why another coffee shop…? It only makes it harder for the other coffee shops to survive.

Tully's is being kicked to the curb, Starbucks opened at the other end of town and we have the Coffee Bean/Main Coffee, what's it's name, across from where Tully's is located. I heard Pete's Coffee is moving in where Tully's it now.

No we don't need another coffee shop. No, we don't need another Real Estate firm taking up space where there should be another retail store. But it's not what we need, it's who can afford to open businesses downtown and what the city authorizes.

Love my town, but not liking what I see. Wish I did have the money to buy up the vacant lots and really give this town variety, and an updated look along with the feel. Oh well ~ Time to play lotto! Happy New Years Pleasanton!!

Like this comment
Posted by Tully's Fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 31, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Oh yes, there is another Coffee/ Tea shop, just under the arch, across from the Museum.

3 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of another community
on Jan 1, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Another coffee shop? Isn't it enogh to have Beans & Bistro, and now Starbucks that looks like Jack and the Beanstalk on the corner. Then there's the tea shop by Dean's that everyone has forgotten about,as well as the tea shop by Baci's. Between coffee shops, and spas, and real estate offices, Main St. is just like every other local town. Same thing, over and over. Go to the museum and look at the archive photos of Main St., and see what charachter it had. Those were the days of Ptown! More isn't always better. For those who like to "hang out", I remember what a dump the pizza place was from everybody doing just that!

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 5, 2016 at 2:38 pm

If I am a Muslim, or Jew, or Agnostic, or Buddhist, or FSMian, or simply non-religious, will I still be allowed to purchase a cup of coffee here and/or hold a meeting of fellow devotees of my religion or non-religion?

4 people like this
Posted by Carbo Loder
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Curious -- Pastafarians will probably feel more welcomed at Chianti's.

Like this comment
Posted by Jen
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Anyone know what is going on with this? There is now a sign on the door talking about there lease?

Like this comment
Posted by Khloe
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm

So i find it Absolutely ridiculous that they are taking the ENTIRE parking lot..... people use that lot for ALL of downtown. not just that specific area..... are they really going to tow people if they park there? what if the lot stays at a low capacity? then it just sits like that for the day?? absolutely absurd.

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 18, 2016 at 9:45 pm

So Khloe, you are upset that they are taking the whole lot THAT THEY OWN? I guess you must have paid for the property and therefore expect to use it for free. Just because people have used the lot when round table closed does not make it the property of anyone who happens to want to park there. If you want to park in my driveway because it has been empty all day does that make it OK? People like you with their overly entitled attitudes make me sick.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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