Many years ago, when downtown had one-way streets, fewer eyesore skyscrapers, and you only drive down 12th without total confusion, there was a coffee shop.
A handful of coffee shops have come and gone, downtown, over the years: Muddy Joe’s made the best espresso in town, Café Ultimate was a fun place to hang out late at night (yes, there used to be more than O’Hanlon’s, open after 5:00 PM, downtown)… But one coffee house stood above them all. A coffee house where all downtowners were welcome: from the rich lawyers to the street kids, the working class, the skaters, punks, goths, mothers and fathers, the inspired artists, the desperate… Everyone had a place to call home downtown at Roca Jack’s.
That place had some kind of magic to it, at one time. It had two floors, live music, poetry, painting, couches, and the best clientèle. Over the years, one thing lead to another, new owners, and Regina’s best coffee house turned into Regina’s not-so-bad coffee house, and eventually Regina’s barely-makes-enough-to-stay-afloat coffee house. Before long, its indifferent new owner pulled the plug.
I was lucky (read: bittersweet) enough to be the very last person to manage Roca Jack’s on Scarth. I had big foolish dreams of pulling the place out of the slump it was in, but it was already way too far gone. For the owner, the place wasn’t even worth the tax break.
However, I still got to sling a few cappuccinos, have some laughs, and meet some incredible people. One of the job’s perks was having total control over the small, donated CD player in the corner.
I have a lot of fond memories of Roca’s. Today, from 4:00 to 6:00, let me take you for a short journey through a unique part of Regina’s history.
Life is too short:
1. Highasakite – Lover, Where Do You Live?
2. The Flaming Lips – The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
3. Pat Metheny Group – A Place In The World
4. John Southworth – Girl On The Moon
5. Sarah Harmer – Will He Be Waiting For Me
6. Beck – Missing
7. Hayden – Two Doors
For shitty coffee/music:
8. LCD Soundsystem – 45:33, part 6
9. Jaco Pastorius – Crisis
10. Dr. John – I’m Gonna Go Fishin’
11. Andy Shauf – Open
12. Ray Lamontagne – Be Here Now
13. Goldfrapp – Paper Bag
14. Buck 65 – Wicked And Weird
15. Tom Waits – Hoist That Rag