Antigua to be evicted from El Sereno location


First Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore was booted from it’s original location in San Fernando. The space is now reportedly a laundromat.

Now, Antigua Cultural Coffee House will close the doors of its El Sereno location. They’re “getting evicted or just simply not being granted a contract extension.” In three weeks they’ll be gone… but never fear, their Cypress Park location will open later this summer.

Yancey, co-owner of Antigua, calls his coffee shop “the envy of the West side.” I can’t argue with that as evidenced by my reaction after my first visit in August 2006. Since then, I’ve found a coffee shop in Culver City where the owner notices when I haven’t visited in a while. It’s cool, but it’s no Antigua.

I visited Antigua a few weeks ago for a monthly meet up with fellow Latin@ bloggers. The meetings are a fun time to just catch up, support independent small businesses on the Eastside and talk about current issues. The next gathering will be at Antigua on Wednesday June 18th at 7 pm. For more info, check out Eastside Scene.

If you’ve never been to Antigua or met a fellow blogger, you should stop by. I always leave the gatherings feeling that the trek from Westwood was well worth it.

Email announcement from Yancey, co-owner of Antigua after the jump.

I have good news and bad news, I’ll start with the bad. We are getting evicted or just simply not being granted a contract extension, why? The property owners have decided they rather lease the complex to “another” group. “You have made this place into a happy socialist center”…and I quote was one of the comments from the property team. On the bright side, at least we‘re “Happy”…and for the “socialist” part I think they mean social, community and culture.

Either way, after 6 months of negotiating and shady false promises, they have decided to move along with another tenant. Really, there is nothing we can do but rant, kick and scream. I rather find solutions and respect the decision.

After all, Antigua Cultural Coffee House existed for 3 solid years and will resonate through Huntington Drive (Historic route 66) for the coming months, memories of this great community establishment will rise and shine throughout the day and night. We became the spot, the place where students and community members escaped their daily routine and network with others.

The home of hundreds of individuals who found a safe haven away from home. The perfect location to study and not fear being kick out by some maniac business owner, instead it was the place where you were acknowledged and praise.

The organizing center for immigrant rights, resource center for community events, meeting place, campaign semi head quarters for progressive candidates. Three student films where filmed on location and a pilot for HBO, LATV did a show here at Antigua! … Google Antigua Coffee House you’ll see our accomplishments.

Poetry nights became comedy nights, somehow the dynamics intermingled to cause such an effect. The best darn gallery in El Sereno. The best and most beautiful customer base ever!

Antigua Cultural Coffee house became a household name, it was a destination. We were voted “Best” by some of the most acclaimed news agencies in the city, the envy of the West side, the pride and joy of the East side.

We are Antigua Cultural Coffee House. We should be incredibly proud of what we have built. We are the community leader of Specialty Coffee. And, believe me when I tell you, we are just getting started. We will overcome the difficult and humbling challenges we face, and will be stronger for it. You have my word on that.

We are the neighborhood entrepreneurial, we are the community service center, we are the conscious innovation, and we definitely reject the Status Quo.

We are the coffee that brings people together everyday to cultivate conversation and community.


On a bright note, the Cypress Park store will finally open in the summer….I’ll keep you posted on the date.

For the time being, our last weeks will be full of surprises and special guest musicians…

Lets celebrate the final countdown….we ask our hardcore customers to enjoy our last days and to spread the news to others. Three weeks left…..


Cross posted at Lotería Chicana

7 thoughts on “Antigua to be evicted from El Sereno location

  1. I had my issues with Antigua (who/what DON’T I have my issues with), but it will always be a super special place even if it wasn’t quite the “socialist” “community” grassroots type image it painted of itself, because it is where I met some of the coolest people I’ve known and made some really important friendships in my life.

    also, a few great parties in the back, dancing, picking lemons from the tree, and later, buzzed on a hot, humid night, all of us running out onto Huntington and staging a big water balloon fight, everybody ending up drenched and drunk and happy.

    much of my zine and website were put together at Antigua, until their wifi stopped being accessible to macs.

    spaces are so important. cafe luna sol, flor y canto, casa del pueblo, east side cafe, tia chucha’s. community is formed in spaces–spaces connect us, especially in a dispersed car city like LA. we need to develop and nurture spaces where political organizing, cultural production, and art can take place–and also, where people can eat and drink together, share ideas, work on projects, flirt, fall in love, fall out of love, make friends, etc, etc.

    we really need these spaces. we need to regenerate so that they keep blooming up instead of just dying out wihtout being replaced.

  2. Oh man kualyque…. Café Tierra Luna Sol, I miss that place. All the meetings, all the yummy Mexican vegetarian food, all the wonderful teas on hand, all the friends that used to frequent it too.

    I live a mile from Antigua and I always tried to like it more, but nonetheless it will be missed. My parents were the ones that used to frequent this spot on many a late night.

  3. Yeah, it’s really sad how there are very few community, radical, organizing spaces left in Los Angeles. Besides Eastside Cafe, I can’t think of any that are left.
    In the early 2000’s there was:
    Luna Sol
    Arts in Action
    Casa del Pueblo
    Flor y Canto
    33 1/3
    the various spaces in LB (Infoshop, Gaian Mind)
    Tia Chuchas
    Popular Resource Center (I guess that ended a little earlier)

    Most of these places ended up being the victims of gentrification and greedy landlords.

    The value of these social spaces should be recognized. Like you kualyque, I’ve met some of my closest friends and have had some of the best times of my life through my involvement with these spaces (for me, it was Flor y Canto.)

    With the closure of these kinda places, the big black hole of Los Angeles grows larger.

  4. Damn, what is up with this? Are they getting a super big discount on the rent that the landlord didn’t want to extend?

    Did the property change hands?

    What could justify getting rid of a tenant in a retail strip that can barely manage to support the businesses it has? There is vacant commercial jsut a few blocks east of Antigua that, for me, brings up a lot of questions about this.

  5. I’m so disappointed about Cafe Antigua leaving El Sereno. Community spaces too often get trumped by the bottom line. This happened to many similar spaces I loved when I lived in Austin and it can be devastating and infuriating. I’d been hearing about Antigua long before I moved to LA. It’s been my comfort spot for writing. I’ve had the best discussions with other grad students there, in part, because we don’t have to worry about discussing things like conquest and racism openly (not that it stops us in other spaces but the tone of the conversation is sometimes different when people are glaring at you from across the room). I’ll miss those yerba mate lattes too!

  6. Yeah I saw some gentrifying looking gringos sizing up the place acting like they owned it when I was there not too long ago. Same story different space. Until we own our own shit this is going to be what happens, which is why the “autonomous” school up the street will continue to be under attack until it is forced to close. I do have one more critique as we have to look at self too….I sometimes hear people complain about overpricing at these small independent places. Well I never saw any of the coffee grinders rolling up in their drop top Beemers on 24’s so I imagine those running Antigua were likely using the extra feria to pay rent. Plus the same whiners drop $5 for a fucking coffee at Estarfucks without a problema. So if you go to the new location in Cypress Park expect to pay a little more on principle to support the communidad and the business and quit fuckin’ whining. Plus I thought the sandwiches were pretty good and worth whatever I paid.

  7. First of all, I personally know the property owners of Antigua Coffee House, very nice and humble people, latinos, (Costa Rican) very much into culture and any social activities related to culture. As a matter of fact, they are the innovators of welcoming social and cultural events in a coffeehouse setting to the El Sereno area. They opened Cafe Tico, a fantastic place for culture in 2003. The owner of the coffee shop, and son of the property owner, Mr. Martin Camacho was always being thanked by many of the locals for bringing a cultural coffeehouse to the neighborhood, he brought poetry readings, aztec dancers, cultural music, and welcomed all forms of social and political meetings to his “house”. To say anything negative about these people is completely absurd. I know for a fact that they were actually nice enough not to formally evict Yancy Quinones (the owner of the subsequent business to Cafe Tico) even though Yancy did not pay his rent for several months. Maybe Antigua Coffeehouse is just jealous that they were not the first ones to bring about change in El Sereno.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *