Written by Marcel Reyes, Staff Writer. Photos by Julie Rings, Staff Photographer.
In one of the only free-standing single-story buildings in downtown, the dual-concept Halcyon Coffee Bar and Stella Public House opened last fall. Entering into its light-flooded modern space, you are greeted by a bright warmth picked up by the floor-to-ceiling glass on three of its four sides. It overlooks one of the city's newest parks, and the Coronado Bay Bridge beyond.
Building upon the design of previous locations, a notable one being in Austin Texas on Fourth Street downtown, Halcyon combines industrial and mid-century-modern inspirations, accented with sunny Southern-Californian warm colors, locally-sourced sycamore, ash, and maple blonde woods, and extra Adirondack-lounge seating on the patio in addition to the traditional cafe tables and classic sky-blue Eames chairs. Their La Marzocco GB 5 gleams towards the doorway, a hard-working espresso machine serving up their Katz house espresso, a mainstay roast which is also used for their award-winning espresso cocktails that will undoubtedly become crowd-pleasers in San Diego’s evening dining scene too.
For local coffee lovers, Halcyon’s most unique feature is their multi-roaster program. Every 45 days, every Halcyon rotates in a guest roaster, the same roaster for every location, to give all patrons the chance to try some of the best coffee around the United States without having to leave their hometown. According to one of Halcyon’s lead Baristas Michelle Corotan, the opportunity for national visibility will also be extended to our own local roasters Halcyon intends to showcase.
“I do intend on featuring San Diego roasters part of our coffee of the month program,” Michelle said, “Now that we are two months into our business, we will be able to reach out and explore the coffee community. I would like to coordinate some coffee roaster tours with the staff as well.”
General Manager Jon Wantz explained the commitment to excellence that the Halcyon franchise maintains in its search for coffee to spotlight: “About every 30 days or so, myself, our operating partner in Texas and the Lead Baristas in Austin, San Antonio and San Diego get together to discuss what direction we want to go for the next cycle. We take a look at coffee trends, awards, top 10 lists that come out and get feedback from our guests on some of their favorite roasters. After selection, we roll out the roaster at all three of the current Halcyon locations simultaneously. “ Halcyon also takes a close look at how patrons are requesting drinks, allowing an organic but responsive evolution of the menu.
If you find yourself feeling really relaxed at Halcyon while sunbathing out back, sipping on a warm latte, then you are already having the quintessential Halcyon experience. Co-Founder Kris Hardy feels that relaxing is the philosophy of the company. Not just physical relaxation, but emotionally too. The name Halcyon means ‘untroubled and carefree.’ “There is a certain kind of relaxation that can be achieved when you are escaping to a comfortable place where you can go through your coffee or tea rituals,” Kris said. “Taking this a step further, the 'third wave' coffee movement is in a lot of ways about slowing things down so you can enjoy the subtleties and appreciate all the thought and effort that went into your cup of coffee, however it is served.”
Kris further explained that the Halcyon environment is the ideal place to encourage a more intimate appreciation of coffee: “To that end, we proudly offer fair-trade organic beans as our house espresso and coffees as well as an adventurous bi-monthly rotation of boutique roasters across the U.S. who are each, in their own ways, crafting some of the most interesting coffees offered today.“
Ultimately Kris and Jon think it best that you come in and find your own Halcyon moments. “We recommend a pour-over enjoyed while facing into the morning sun with your eyes closed and head resting back on one of the Adirondack chairs,” Kris recommended, “Or, it could be the iced toddies that are sipped while you finally catch up with a friend, or email, at the community table. Our hope is that you leave with a contented smile.”
Currently Halcyon is featuring Highwire out of Oakland, CA. You can enjoy a Highwire Espresso at Halcyon in San Antonio, Austin or San Diego, today! Local roasters wishing to make inquiries can contact Michelle Corotan or General Manager Jon Wantz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours of operation are 6:30 am to 1 am daily.