Saturday, August 09, 2008

Hook Me Up: Cafe Lyon--CLOSED

UPDATE (06/20/09): This cafe switched to a tiny restaurant but it couldn't draw enough diners. So now it's up for sale.

It's been awhile since I've been out and about with my laptop, but I had a free afternoon after doing a few photo shoots, and it's such a beautiful afternoon that I decided to go find a cafe.

I'm at the Cafe Lyon right now near the Rockridge BART station in my neighborhood. It's actually not the first time I've been here. This is a really cute small corner cafe that's not as popular as the ones on Piedmont Avenue on the other end of where I live. So it's nice not worrying about finding a spot.

The spot used to be a juice shop that went out of business and I think it's been a cafe for the past year. They have a few outdoor tables, but the sun is super bright outside, especially if you're worried about the glare on your computer screen. So most people are inside.

When I arrived at about 3 p.m., the place was totally empty except for this woman ahead of me. Since then, the place has filled up where almost all the tables are taken up. People are just following me everywhere! It's funny, like I said, this place doesn't seem very crowded except the peak time around the late afternoon.

They sell a variety of pastries, bagels and sandwiches. But I have to say, today in the glass counter there are two flies buzzing around trapped inside with the food. Now, I don't know if the food in the counter is just for display and they make your order in the back. But it just kind of turned me off. I know in the past I've had a cinnamon roll and it was fine. Nothing spectacular about the food, it's mostly the drinks. They have a nice variety of drinks, including coffee, tea, and even wine tasting on Sundays. They also have what's called a kombucha, which is what I ordered.

I had never heard of kombucha, but apparently it's an ancient drink from the Himalayas. I think recently someone bottled a version and is selling it as a wonder drink. I'm not sure what version they have here at Cafe Lyon, but it looks like they make it themselves. The drink is fermented green tea that's blended with an effervescent juice drink. I got mines with black currant, one of my favorite flavors. It cost me $4 with tax. It is like drinking any other sparkling juice and you barely detect any tea flavoring until near the end when you reach the bottom. It's interesting and good on a super hot day, but I rather stick with my normal black tea and sip away in the afternoon.

Cafe Lyon has this real Spanish feel and the walls are filled with art work by local artists. Because it's close to the Rockridge BART station, it also has one of those flat screens that display the upcoming trains' arrival times. That's pretty cool.

The cafe has a nice cozy feel, but I have to say I come back because the wireless is amazingly fast. I think because it's small so you're not sharing it with a room full of people like other cafes. And you don't need a password, so it's convenient to hook up.

OK, and I have to admit that I come back because the servers are really sweet and one in particular is very cute. Free wi-fi and eye candy, what's better than that? ;-)

Cafe Lyon
Location: 5701 College Ave. (at Miles), Oakland
PH: 510.547.0800
Food: Baked goods, bagels, sandwiches
Coffee: Unknown
Tea: Unknown, loose-leaf
Wi-Fi: Yes, free, no password necessary
Outlets: Yes, alongside the walls.
Restrooms: Yes
Seating: About 8 small tables inside and 3 outside, bar seating too.
Cleanliness: Average


saudade said...

As a regular kombucha drinker, I can tell you that the kombucha there is really top notch! I prefer it plain, but the blackcurrant is very nice as well. Very refreshing way to get your probiotics. :)

Eeew, but I agree in every way about flies in the counter. Yuck.

Anyway, nice review of this cute a slightly upscale cafe in Rockridge. BTW, have you been to the Mixing Bowl in Temescal yet? I'd like to see a review here -- I think you'd enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was supposed to a wine bar. At least that's what I thought the sign said when they were new. Did they change? The winebar concept sounds much more interesting.

Chef Ben said...

I wouldn't call Cafe Lyon a wine bar, although they do serve wine and have special wine tastings on Sundays. I don't think the food reaches to the level like what you would see at wine bars in Italy. Definitely more a cafe with wine than a wine bar with coffee.