©2021 Michael Raven
cobblestone café opening to warehouse skies the city a million miles and two blocks away fingertrace the yellow bricks the tabletop coffee rings smoking the afternoon away with black velvet washing off the nothingness of the day
Moose and Sadie’s was a coffee shop tucked away in the warehouse district of Minneapolis for nearly 30-some years. The warehouses were largely unrenovated and probably empty (I know for a fact some might as well have been abandoned, as I urban-x’d more than a few as a teen), and the district was tucked between one of the main thoroughfares and the Mississippi, so traffic had no reason to travel along those cobblestoned streets. The main drag was two blocks to what we’ll call west (though it might have been more properly called “south”, the streets did some strange things there) of the café, but it might as well have been a country away for the impact it made directly in front of the storefront. It was a downtown no-man’s land for most of the people in the area, and that was fine by me.
M&S was one of the early casualties of the pandemic. Downtown was largely shut down and they couldn’t host people indoors and the foot-traffic (forget about street-traffic) went from light to nonexistent. It wasn’t ever the kind of yuppie café the nuevo-rich that had started to turn those empty warehouses into living quarters would visit (although recent interior pictures suggest they may have adapted to the new reality), nor was is bohemian enough to draw less-affluent folks to it just for a cup o’ joe. It died quickly, as quite a few places did in the late spring of 2020.
I, however, spent an inordinate amount of time there in my 20s and early 30s. And I had always meant to drag some long-lost friends from my past there to meet up for coffee about the time coronavirus had hit — or just to write, away from the kids and the cats.
Now I can’t, and I realized today that it made me feel kind of sad. Was the coffee stellar? No. It was simple stuff and their espresso-based drinks were left wanting if you are a former barista who prided himself on pulling some of the best shots in town (at the time…; I’m sure there are equally good artisans these days, possibly better — although I have yet to encounter any of them).
It wasn’t the coffee, but the feeling that you could be there all day, sipping brewed coffee for a few bucks and the world stopped outside while you did so. I think I need to find something like it soon.