Home » Red Bay Coffee opens a big Oakland cafe and events space in a 1920s bank Monday

Red Bay Coffee opens a big Oakland cafe and events space in a 1920s bank Monday

After seven years of growth, popular roasting company Red Bay Coffee is about to open its most ambitious project yet: a three-story, 11,000-square-foot cafe and events space in a former bank from the 1920s.

At the corner of International Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the new cafe opening Monday will become the headquarters for the company, marking its fourth cafe following an announcement last month of its plans to open in San Francisco’s Ferry Building in April. Red Bay founder Keba Konte said it’s their first “state-of-the-art coffee shop experience.”

The ground floor will have a cafe that will serve lattes, teas and its popular seasonal drinks like candied yam lattes and vanilla charcoal lattes. It will also have a full production kitchen where they will make baked goods and savory meals, like chocolate chip cookies and veggie asparagus mushroom croissant tarts, for the company’s various locations throughout the Bay Area.

But Konte, who is Black and has a reputation for promoting diversity and inclusion in the coffee industry, will also use it to grow the mission-driven side of the business. The new space will host events, panel discussions and a production studio where staff will create “how to” videos for its YouTube channel, Konte said.

Panel discussions will focus on entrepreneurship for Black and brown businesses and startups, and Konte said he will aim to connect people to investors.

“We’re going to be a community hub cultivating Black and brown entrepreneurs,” Konte said.

Red Bay Coffee will open its new flagship cafe and headquarters in East Oakland on Monday, April 12.

Courtesy Keba Konte

The words “beautiful coffee to the people” are painted along the building’s exterior. Inside, it has a modern design with high ceilings, a counter for seating lined up near its windows and plants scattered everywhere. Toward the back of the building, there are a few chairs and small, ottoman-like tables. The kitchen is tucked behind the cafe counter. The second floor will be used for office space. Konte decided to keep the former bank’s vault and has used it for storage.

Red Bay Coffee launched in Oakland in 2014 in the garage of Konte’s home before he expanded to the roasting facility in Fruitvale, which is just a couple of minutes from the new location.

For Konte, this cafe represents an opportunity to expand the company’s mission and welcome customers to its first standalone brick-and-mortar location.

“This is our first cafe-dedicated-only coffee bar that we built that wasn’t (in) a shipping container, a shared space or tucked inside the roasting operation,” he said.

As such, for its debut, Red Bay Coffee will be celebrating with lion dancers, a mariachi band and an African drum circle.

Red Bay Coffee: 3136 International Blvd., Oakland. 510-399-2441. Grand opening Monday from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Open seven days a week. www.redbaycoffee.com