On December 5th, 1992, a very unique establishment on La Jolla ‘s Pearl Street opened its doors. A place where one can be swallowed up into the social scene, or put on headphones, and reside in the world of their personal music preference. Co-owner Danny O’ Halloran has taken the ever-popular concept of the coffee house and combined it with the technological breakthrough of the compact disc. The result;Â Discafe.
Whether relaxing at the bar, or browsing the numerous discs for listening and purchase, the vanilla-almond aroma and rich, Spanish sounds of Ottmar Liebert caress the senses. Several monitors provide entertainment with various media like computer animation, snowboarding footage, and music videos.
O’ Halloran explains what separatesÂ DiscafeÂ from the numerous cafes along La Jolla’s streets. â€œThe main thing about this (Â DiscafeÂ ) is taking a European way of selling c.d.’s which is to listen before you buy. Having the coffee shop as an accessory, and then making it a club atmosphere where it’s more of a hangout.â€
Danny derived the concept of the C.D. listening bar fromÂ World of Music, a similar bar in Munich, Germany. He enlisted the help of designer Mike Martin, who recently beautified Society Billiard CafeÂ in Pacific Beach. Using Danny’s pictures fromÂ NetworkÂ , a billiard hall in Spain, Mike was able to re-create the â€œBarcelona-techno styleâ€ Danny wanted, using elements of maple and steel.
Prominent San Diego interior designer Richard Kaleh callsÂ DiscafeÂ avant-garde because it has a â€œreal mix of furnishings and styles. There’s something from the â€˜50’s; there’s something from the â€˜60’s, and there’s also a projection of the future going on here.â€
The upstairs loft houses the eleven listening stations where people listen to their chosen discs, or any of the nine pre-selected c.d.’s The sitting bar and display racks occupy the space below. Numerous beverages and snacks are offered at the bar. Customize your coffee with cream, sugar, or any of the six DaVinci syrups. Order drinks you’ve never even heard of before.
DiscafeÂ attracts an older crowd in the morning and then a younger population throughout the afternoon. In the later hours, the place is dominated by people in their 20’s and 30’s. Late meaning open until 2:00 a.m. on the weekdays and until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, which makesÂ DiscafeÂ one of the few nocturnal members of La Jolla ‘s commercial community.
The store is mainly run by Danny and his brother Mike, who handles the advertising and other public relations. Robert O’Quinn is a vital asset ofÂ DiscafeÂ , handling all the inventory and ordering. However, the numerous employees must not be overlooked, because they are the ones we see; the ones we talk with; the ones who make coming to DiscafeÂ so enjoyable.
Future plans for Discafe include possible live Jazz and performances from local bands likeÂ Rocket from the CryptÂ andÂ Three Mile Pilots. Prospective cafe owners will hopefully realize the cause ofÂ Discafe’sÂ tremendous success. Mesa student andÂ Discafe employee Jack Algar states, â€œThere’s more than just coffee…there’s music.â€
The atmosphere is clean, and the people are friendly. Sit back, drink what you want, and listen to music you like. On a nearby flyer, you discover a phrase that explainsÂ Discafe’s appeal. TheÂ CheersÂ of the modern, health-conscious West boasts, â€œThis ain’t no warehouse, it’s more like your house.â€
The photos by Dan Soderberg appeared in Robert Mealing’s 1993 BLEND MAGAZINE. The above text is from the 02/08/93 issue of the Mesa Press, the Mesa College Newspaper which was reposted on Clark Wyatt’s Blog, The Clarkive