Cafe engages in lively interaction

East Bay Coffee Company open mic, ukelele nights to promote friendly atmosphere


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

East Bay Coffee Company owner Bill Ancira extracts espresso for a customer at its location in Pinole on Monday. Ancira said he plans expand to more locations, including Church Lane in San Pablo.

By Roxana Amparo, Associate Editor

PINOLE — The East Bay Coffee Company knows how to keep an open mind with its lively environment and inviting atmosphere.

It is a place where college students, family members and anyone comfortable with a talkative setting can enjoy.

With its location in Old Town Pinole, it brings in crowds on a daily basis.

The building looks like a house with surrounding neighbors and designated parking spaces. On weekdays it is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Upon entering, whether it’s from the front door or from the hidden back door, the aroma of coffee fills the air and the bright colored macarons draw the eyes toward the pastry case filled with a wide assortment of pastries. 

The array includes cream-filled doughnut holes, chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake and plump croissants.

Its menu choices are easy to understand with a selection of espresso drinks like macchiatos and americanos, hot or iced drinks such as lattes and mochas, and hot teas.

When it comes to its hot chocolate and vanilla chai lattes, the simplicity of the drinks, served on either a to-go cup or mug, is a delight.

 Although hot chocolates don’t come with whip cream, their velvety foam makes up for it. Latte art is included if the workers are feeling crafty.

The employees will offer a friendly greeting if they see customers come in, unless they are too caught up on their cell phones or in a conversation with each other.

When engaging with a customer, they make sure they answer any questions about the drinks.

Oftentimes they exchange information about their lives. The employees seem to be attentive to their regulars.

Weekend mornings keep a consistent flow and drinks are ready in a timely manner.

The location draws in a lot of morning people picking up coffee to go.

There is the option of paying either with cash or credit card. Prices range from 50 cent doughnut holes to $4.25 for a vanilla chai tea latte.

The walls are full of art pieces from local artists and photographs of the Milky Way, Aurora lights, starry nights and forests. Every so often they change up the art with other local artists’ creations or photography.

It gives something for wandering eyes to be refreshed. It gives the cafe an art gallery feel and the pieces are for sale.

The coffee shop is divided into two sections. The side closer to the bar has a few tables and the other side is a larger area with tables and couches. Each side has its own rest room.

While the side closer to the register remains peaceful, the other side can get loud enough to distract those studying without earphones.

The idea of having a coffee shop where no one is bothered with how loud it may get while studying makes it seem like a social gathering. It seems that everyone is accepting of each other’s space.

Whether it is students going in for a study session while using the free WiFi (ebcc12345), friends meeting up or folks picking up a cup of coffee, visitors can enjoy one of the nightly events.

On Wednesday nights a table is reserved for game night. It is not a recommended spot to sit nearby if studying quietly is the goal. There are ukulele nights on first and third Tuesdays. Thursdays an open mic night is hosted and on Fridays there is a group playing music and a contemporary worship night on Sundays.

Board games including Monopoly, Taboo, Scrabble and Chess. And more can be found stored on the counters near the register area.

Although it is usually cold inside, it is a spot worth visiting whether for a study session or to try the hot chocolate.