A new worker-owned coffee shop, bookstore and community space is moving into Oakland’s Fruitvale district. Called Hasta Muerte (“until death”) Coffee, the shop is being opened by Loren, Matt and Kari, three Latinx* Oakland residents with a history in community-oriented work.
Loren has been working at Alchemy Collective Café in Berkeley, as well as working for many years in community building and social justice projects, according to the shop’s website. Matt is the co-founder of The Bikery, a nearby bike shop and community center that mentors Oakland youth. Kari is a “first generation xicanx, visual artist, self-publisher, illustrator, and maker of things,” according to the website.
The trio raised funds for the new coffee shop through a successful $35,000 Kickstarter campaign, which wrapped up last month. They aim for Hasta Muerte to be a place that will help “hold down a Latinx owned and run space with our community in a time of displacement,” according to the shop’s Kickstarter page. “We want to inspire the communities we are a part of, especially young people, to share stories, histories and struggles that sustain the Town’s cultural legacy of resilience from people of color, queer folks, activists, and undocumented communities.”
Hasta Muerte will serve coffee and “Latinx bites” made using organic ingredients. In addition, it will serve as a specialty bookstore, offering books, zines and other merchandise that “highlight[s] the spirit and social fabric that makes Oakland so radiant,” according to the Kickstarter page.
The shop is moving into a space that most recently housed Lucky Strike Electronics, which a November story in Oakland Voices said functioned as an illegal casino and “brought misery to the neighborhood.” The electronics store was shut down in Jan. 2015 after a lawsuit was filed by Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker and a police raid seized the gambling equipment.
In summer 2016, the nonprofit 67 Sueños unveiled “Town Roots: Oakland is Home,” a mural along the 27th Street side of the building; a dedication next to the mural reads: “We dedicate this mural to all the Black and Brown men and women who have left us due to police violence, racism, and gentrification.”
There is no set opening date yet for Hasta Muerte, but the co-founders plan to open sometime early this year. We’ve reached out to the founders for more details, and we will update you as we learn more.
*An alternative to Latino or Latina that refers to people of Latin American descent that can be used by Spanish-speaking communities in order to be inclusive of people across the gender spectrum. This could include people who identify as agender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, genderqueer and gender fluid. It could also include gender-conforming people who choose to speak using non-gendered language.