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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Can We Talk About Caffe Trinity's Interior For a Second?

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge This is the interior of a cafe. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • This is the interior of a cafe.
There is a new café in Mid-Market. (Q: Will we ever have enough? A: No, apparently not.) Caffe Trinity, on the ground floor of the Trinity Center, is now open and OMG, the interior! It gives me feels.

click to enlarge Hello, (most of) David! - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • Hello, (most of) David!
But before we even get to that, there is the exterior. Built in 1990, it’s a fairly glamorous edifice that looks far older than its time, and the front door has an image of a dove inside of a triangle that’s inside a circle a la the Holy Spirit. (Hence, “Trinity Center.”) And the lobby has a life-size bust of Michelangelo’s David. By “life-size,” I mean an equivalent to the original’s 14-foot height, not some six-foot statue. It’s a statement torso.

But the café itself, which abuts the sidewalk and is built so solidly that you can barely hear buses passing, is something else. The walls are covered in hand-painted, trompe l’oeil images of Great Plains tribes and they go all out in bringing the rococo Indian-ana. Among the jackrabbits, skunks, crows, owls and pheasants are an arrowhead-feather-and-buffalo-horn motif that doesn’t skimp on the tribal headdresses or proud-looking women with their children. I thought it dated to at least the mid-20th century, but nope. A well-informed staffer from ACT’s nearby Strand Theater said the space had been a café on-and-off for a little over 20 years, which puts the décor at circa 1992. Hard to fathom, that. And on top of it all, there are Venetian sconces and two gigantic chandeliers, because why the hell not?

The weirdest thing is that this small space, as decorated as a vintage carousel, wasn’t playing any music when I was there. Library-like silence can be pleasant in theory, but it means you hear absolutely everything: other people’s whispers, the sound of coffee brewing, the hum of the refrigerator. Caffe Trinity’s menu is pretty ordinary (cappuccinos, tuna sandwiches, apple turnovers, granola), but I’m going back, to get a cup of coffee and just stare.

Caffe Trinity, 1145 Market.

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About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.


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