Café Royale is probably our favorite evening hangout spot in the Tendernob, at the corner of Post and Leavenworth. It’s an odd combination of mellow daytime coffeeshop with free wifi, and quiet night bar with candles on the tables serving a few beers on tap, sake & soju cocktails, and cheap wines by the glass (their house wine is usually $5). They even have a pool table!
Their website says they’re open from 10 am while the sign on the door says 7am, but since we’re never up so early we don’t know when they actually open. We do know when they close though: at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and at 11 or midnight the rest of the week, depending on how big the crowd is (usually not big).
They also have monthly mini-art exhibits on their wall, and events that are usually free, such as live music, book readings or stand up comedy performances. Our favorite is their regular Jazz Sundays.
A trustworthy selection of coffee, beer and wine. A functional art gallery that features work by local artists (more hits than misses). Loads of natural light during the day and a comfy setting in the evening. The second floor seating is always nice, if not a bit warm on those odd hot days, but offers a great perspective of goings-on below.
Free music. There is no other local venue in close proximity to Union Square/Tenderloin/Nob Hill/Polk Street that offers such a thing on a regular basis. And featuring music that doesn’t always have a commercial zeal – a further unique element to the programming at Cafe Royale.
So as the city’s event spaces, cafes and bars continue their sad permutation into a shallow reflection of commercial and Manhattan-style successes, I am happy to have Cafe Royale around for the occasional drink and reminder of what a neighborhood spot is all about.
They have a happy hour (that they call “pretty glad hour”) daily from 4 to 7 offering a $1 off all their alcoholic drinks, and every first Thursday of the month after 8 they have an opening reception for the art show of the month. The next one is this coming Thursday for Oakland-based artist Teppei Ando’s portrait series Blowing It
Also, tonight at 7 there’s free live music by Uni and her Ukelele, Tippy Canoe, Meredith Axlerod & Amber Lee All-acoustic-grrrls.
You can check the program for the rest of the month on their website, which includes two jazz bands next Sunday at 2pm and at 6pm, and a book reading at 8:30pm by authors Reenita Malhotra, Samantha Waltz and Teresa Coates.