Letter to a Coffee Shop

19 Jul

Dear Queen Bean,

I know it had been several months since I dropped by for coffee, but imagine my surprise when I discovered how quickly things had changed in so short a time.

First off, let me tell you awesome it was to be hassled by your Security. As a five-foot, two inch female, nothing makes me feel as badass as being jostled on my way to hear an outdoor piano duet. I felt hardcore! Like a gangster. I was planning on purchasing dinner at the Bean but such a friendly greeting made me step up my game. I wanted something lighter, in case I got the opportunity to engage in a bar fight precipitated by aggro covers of Elton John songs.

I also really appreciated waiting twenty minutes in line while my friends started the show without me. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder! My simplistic, expensive drink was surely sweeter for having to stand that long on my arthritic legs. I could have sat down to enjoy the show while I waited for the line to die down, but I’m sure this made my drink taste all the more better since I had to work for it.

And let me tell you how much I appreciated the selection of beverages and food you had to offer! I know the sandwiches looked like they were served on plain hotdog buns, but since you were charging $7.00 for them, I’m sure they were the most exquisite hot dog buns money could buy.

If there’s one thing I love when going into a place of business, it’s feeling like I have the owner’s attention. Boy, did I ever! I couldn’t turn around without bumping into a sign that told me that only paying customers were allowed to enter the establishment, see a live show, use the bathroom, access the shitty WiFi, or ask questions. It would have been perfect if I were into being dominated.

Another great aspect of your shop is the service. You can tell only cool people go to the Queen Bean because only cool people are willing to be ignored for ten minutes while the baristas talk amongst themselves when you’re ready to order. I’m sure that keeps out all the riff-raff that don’t have time to bask in the coolness of your coffee shop.

Art by my talented friend Jose

As a girl who loves nothing more than vintage, you can imagine how thrilled I was to sit in old, and desperately in need of repair lawn furniture while I sipped my expensive drink and listened to my live music. I love that the table I sat at had loose tiles. So authentically trashy chic! You nailed it, Queen Bean. Bravo.

In closing, let me state that your coffee shop witnessed the end of an era as Stefalynda played their last show ever there. I have been going to see my friends play for years and years, and my experience at your shop was definitely the most memorable I’ve ever had. I will always remember, for example, how you told my friends to end their show at 10 p.m. sharp, and how less than five minutes later you turned the patio lights on and off several times to get our attention. The message was clear: go home now because we desperately want to keep your business.

Yes, we were in no danger of becoming overwhelmed by those warm, teary feelings you have when one of your best friends in the whole world is moving away. We could have been lamenting Stefalynda’s last show but instead we were distracted by your efforts to close up for the night. Well played, Queen Bean, well played.

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9 Responses to “Letter to a Coffee Shop”

  1. Stefanie July 19, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I’m sad that it turned into a crappy experience for you guys, but to be fair I told you guys about the problems they had with bands and why they had to implement these rules. Random, rowdy bands play there all the time and their teenage groupies were coming to the shows and not buying anything. They needed security because they serve alcohol, and as far as I’ve heard, the city is forcing them to end the music at 10 PM sharp. I can’t vouch for the people who were making the drinks because I had never seen them before, but during the day the owner is there usually and she is always great. I love their drinks and their veggie sandwich is my favorite, but that’s my opinion. They are voted the best coffeeshop in Modesto in the MAMA awards because they really are one of the best venues in Modesto.
    I’m glad you guys were able to make it and I wish it would have been a better experience for you. The security people were nice to us but I can’t speak for others. I know it seemed ridiculous to have security at our low key show, but it is something they have to do for every show now.

    • LittleBig July 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

      I still had a great time at your show, but that coffee shop has definitely gone down hill. No doubt it was Modesto’s best awhile ago; I used to love it. The thing is that it seems like the problem is with the management. I’ve been to lots of live shows at lots of coffee shops and bars and I’ve never had them nit pick and make such a big deal of things. It leads me to believe that if they were having so many problems with people at their live shows, perhaps they were booking the wrong sorts of live shows. Queen Bean may serve alcohol, but it’s not a bar. They need to take a look at the clientele they are attracting and need to find out what it is that they are doing that’s giving them so many problems.

      This situation reminds me EXACTLY of a classroom management problem.You know there’s that teacher everyone had who didn’t let you move your desk even an inch to the right without being punished? The kind of teacher that went out of their way to be a dick to students because they couldn’t handle the thornier class management issues? This is exactly that situation. I’ve been in bars where I’ve been less hassled. It’s not my responsibility as the patron to pick up the slack because they couldn’t manage their other clientele problems.

      The hostile signs everywhere were unnecessary and the staff needs to be talked to. I didn’t notice this problem at earlier visits. I’m sure the manager is very nice; you can be very nice and still make a mess of your business.

      I’d go there again to see you guys, but I’m not going there with Anthony on our lunch dates any more. There are plenty of other places that deserve our business.

      • Stefanie July 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

        No I agree. It was disappointing, and I wish it would have been a better experience for everyone. If/when we play again, it will definitely be a hometown Borders show for sure. We could have air conditioning at least 🙂

  2. Laura July 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Serrano Sociao Club, baby. freshly opened in the old J Street Cafe. live music and run by a longtime local.

    • LittleBig July 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm #

      Yes, I’ve been hearing great things about that place! Can’t wait to check it out.

  3. OmarKalifornia July 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    This made me laugh, but I’m sorry you had experienced this, on the bright side, it made for a great post. 

  4. Marie July 20, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Places like this are one of my pet peeves. We have an expression in NZ for this kind of thing, “It’s stink!”. Lets be clear, it’s not, “It stinks”, but as used below:

    That coffee shop experience was stink!

    Plus, in American I’d add that it sucked as well, just because I’m bilingual like that.

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