Eighth Street Bookshop was a literary center of Greenwich Village in the 50’s and 60’s and a landing pad for a generation of struggling young poets and literary types, who were often supported emotionally and monetarily by owner Eli Wilentz. Literary greats like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso were often seen thumbing through paperback books (an innovation in the its heyday!) and strolling the aisles, until the shop shuttered its doors in 1979.
Today, we are thrilled to announce a rebirth of the legendary space on W. 8th as our second New York coffee bar. Each of our cafes is unique to its respective neighborhood and this one is beautifully bookish, with its coffered ceiling, oak bar, walnut floor and hand screen printed wallpaper.
We’re very excited to unveil a collaborative Stumptown/La Marzocco venture: West 8th’s custom espresso machine designed by Duane Sorenson, Lizz Hudson Smith and our own Head of Service Department/mechanical wizard Alex Lambert.
This beauty features classy oak inlays, antique brass finishes, custom glass mirrored and hand-painted panels, with gold leaf detail and black oxide conversion coating.
Alex hand-drew the design of the exterior and worked closely with Lizz — the inner workings of the machine are an unmodified La Marzocco Strada, known and loved for its consistency, control and design by and for baristas. He worked alongside former La Marzocco engineer Jacob Ellul-Blake to modify the components and mock it up in CAD before sending it off to the machinist. Alex dubbed the piece de resistance “The 712.”
We hope to carry forward the building’s tradition of education, innovation and inspiration with a brew bar alongside the espresso bar, a longtime vision of ours that has finally come to fruition. The cafe has seating available, and we can only hope the shop’s storied history will continue to act as a neighborhood cornerstone. We can’t wait to see you there.
Read more here about Eighth Street, one of New York’s most historic thoroughfares.