Rumor Has It
Of beginnings and endings:
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
“What’s going on at Kombucha Town?”
It took a few people asking me that question before I figured out what they were really referring to was the Culture Cafe, a distinction without much of a difference in the past, but one that has now become more important.
To rewind: On Nov. 1, the Culture Cafe, which lives in the basement of the Herald building as an offshoot of Kombucha Town, closed, seemingly rather suddenly, for “renovations.” Turns out it really was for renovations no matter how suspicious my putting quotes around the word might render it. Evidently, they shuttered to do the kind of work that is both necessary while also not being very interesting. However, the slight space rehab signaled a change of ownership, the main effect of which at this point seems to be that it is no longer technically correct to use the names Culture Cafe and Kombucha Town interchangeably, which I’m sure most of us will catch onto probably never.
Sorry, Kombucha Town. I mean Culture Cafe.
Mainly, the point of all this was to let you know that the cafe is back open, has a revamped menu (feed me all the kabobs) and has already hosted Goh Kurosawa, karaoke and trivia night, so it’s safe to say they’re back in action.
In news that is nowhere near as good comes word that Rook and Rogue, the downtown Bellingham spot where you can drink creatively named craft cocktails while schooling your friends at Settlers of Catan (or in my case, Sorry—same same) has decided to close.
To put a finer point on it, it’s not so much that they “decided” to close, it’s that they ran out of the money required to run a well-liked business that was never meant to make anyone rich, but was very much meant to support and foster community.
It’s an unhappy circumstance, but I’m guessing that Rook and Rogue will not be the last such place to make the difficult decision to shut down and move on. Bellingham is getting more expensive to live in by the second, and those feeling a great deal of the squeeze are the artists, musicians, writers, dancers, makers, artisans and others who, although they are every bit as much community stakeholders as anyone else, comprise the paycheck-to-paycheck sector of the working class. There are a lot of us. And when we experience wage stagnation and struggle financially, the mostly small businesses that get our dwindling share of disposable income suffer as well.
We are not a better community for it.
Like everyone else, I don’t know what the solutions are. For now, we can hit up Rook and Rogue, swill cocktails, throw down some Sorry and hope the answers come.