Inklings, a name associated with a literary discussion group from the University of Oxford in the 1930s, has opened its coffee and tea shop in downtown Pleasanton in a vacant building at 530 Main St. once occupied by Round Table Pizza.
The new business is affiliated with Valley Community Church, which has long operated a coffee and tea service in the lobby of its church at 4455 Del Valle Pkwy. However, the Main Street business is operating as a separate corporation from the church, with a separate board of directors and management team. Valley Community Church is a shareholder of the holding company.
Even so, the church's influence was apparent at grand-opening ceremonies last week when Heath Hardesty, the lead pastor at Valley Community Church, led the celebration with a prayer, joined by Inklings president Mark Lortz. Then evryone went inside, where coffee aficionados like found a custom-built coffee bar, hand-selected antique furniture and decor and wainscot paneling reminiscent of coffee houses at the turn of the 20th century.
Some might say that the last thing Pleasanton needs is another coffee shop, but this one is different. Every detail, from the gold tin ceiling to the built-in bookcases to the attached event center with meeting space for more than 100 have been carefully selected and crafted to stand out from other coffee houses.
Books from eras past and present line the walls and can be thumbed through or borrowed. There is even rumor that a secret passage waits to intrigue guests both young and old. Every aspect of the shop has been carefully thought through to create a unique place of wonder and excellence where residents of the Tri-Valley can gather together.
Inklings will occupy and use both floors of the building, which at one time when it was a pizza parlor 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 has been renovated with a coffee bar and table seating, an assembly area with a portable stage, a green room that performers and lecturers can occupy when not using the stage, two small meeting rooms, a small kitchen and restrooms. 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.
Inklings also features a 1,500-square-foot event center, which will host a number of events designed to bring people together in varied ways, such as concerts, art shows and open-mic nights. The event space will also be available for rent, with special pricing for local nonprofit organizations and Tri-Valley residents.
Inklings will be serving Portland-based Stumptown coffee. Espresso drinks will be served, along with its Nitro and cold brew coffee on tap. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee carefully brewed by hand right in front of you with Stumptown's single origin pour-overs. In addition, there's Compassion brand tea, with all of Compassion's profits going to support medical aid and education in Africa.
For those who may want a bit to eat with their beverage, Inklings is offering gluten-free breads, sliced-and-slathered toast with locally sourced jams and spreads, bakery goods and pies.
"Inklings truly is a community place," said Hannah Arionus, general manager. "As we open the doors, I already see lasting friendships being formed as our community is brought together over excellent coffee and the art of conversation."
For more information, visit www.inklingscoffee.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org/