Coffee Spot brings retro vibe to area

Hemingway’s in Independence offers art, music and more for the all-ages crowd.

Statesman Journal

Hemingway’s Coffee Spot is named for a cat, not the famed author.

It’s an important distinction, because Hemingway’s is anything but a stuffy bookish coffee shop. Instead, the new all-ages music venue in downtown Independence is funky, retro and laid back.

Hemingway’s opened July 4 in a spot formerly occupied by an antique store. Owner Melissa Gable, 28, is a former preschool art teacher who had a vision of bringing her love of kids, art and music together.

She took out a small business loan and set to work in April renovating the spot in the 1907 building.

“I really think the coffee shop is the malt shop of 2000 and beyond,” Gable said. “I wanted a real homey feeling where anyone could come and feel comfortable.”

A black brick wall accentuates splashes of red throughout the store. Window seats are adorned with large, fluffy pillows and there are tables for adults and kids alike. Bookcases are full of games, books and puzzles. For the month of September, Hemingway’s is featuring art from Independence-area students on its walls.

There is a new addition — large glass jars filled with local bands’ CDs. Selling CDs is another part of Gable’s commitment to showcasing local music.

She said she wanted Hemingway’s to be an all-ages music venue from day one. Anbot Rodroid played at the coffee shop on opening night. And she hired David LiaBraaten, a local musician and former employee at the Governor’s Cup, to be in charge of booking.

LiaBraaten said his vision for Hemingway’s is for the shop to be a place for up-and-coming musicians to get their start.

“It’s small and it’s free, so it’s a perfect place for a young band to play,” he said. “We want to showcase all kinds of music from our area. We’ve already had everything from acoustic to pop to punk rock and garage bands.”

Gable is hoping to capitalize on the abundance of high school and college students in the Independence area. While business started out slow in the summer, she is hopeful that will change when Western Oregon University starts classes at the end of September.

“It’s a new concept to have a place to come and hang out in Independence,” she said. “The community has been really supportive. People like to see the kids hanging out at a safe place and having a good time.”

Next up for Hemingway’s is an expansion of the menu — which will go beyond organic coffee drinks into light lunch fare — and more music and art activities. Gable said Friday concerts will remain free, but she isn’t ruling out the possibility of a cover charge on other nights.

“There’s not enough music out there,” Gable said.

“We don’t utilize our artistic abilities enough, and music is another form of art.”

Hemingway’s Coffee Spot

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

Where: 215 S. Main St., Independence

Call: (503) 838-4221

Hemingway’s concert schedule

All concerts start at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Friday: G.A.A.G (see sidebar) and Agripod

Sept. 26: The Mopps, garage rock, and Eddie Machete & the Hacks, rock

10 p.m., Sept. 27: Two Lane Highway, blues

Oct. 3: The Morgans, country and classic rock

Oct. 4: Greenlea, acoustic rock

Oct. 10: The Cameras, indie rock and Anbot Rodroid, synth-pop

Oct. 17: Pilgrim’s Feet, folk rock

Oct. 24: Counterpoint, instrumental rock, and Luke, experimental indie rock