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Coffee break, fixed

Downtown to get its caffeine, culture fixes

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Emergency Arts across from the El Cortez and Beauty Bar.
Photo: Kristen Peterson

The Downtown set's prayers look to finally be answered when Downtown Cocktail Room owner Michael Cornthwaite opens his as-yet-unnamed café in the heart of the Fremont East district. Despite the presence of Kabab Corner and Uncle Joe's pizza, what East Fremont has been sorely lacking is a full-service coffeehouse for those fires that can only be put out by caffeine and free Wi-Fi.

The roughly 15,000-square-foot space also serves as the entrance to Emergency Arts, a multi-use arts and culture cooperative Cornthwaite has leased and is operating with wife Jennifer (née Harrington), of Henri & Odette Gallery fame. Both Emergency Arts and the café are expected to open in about 30 days.

Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to start, the café will seat anywhere from 30 to 50 patrons who can partake in the coffeehouse culture. "It will have a really northwestern vibe to it," says Cornthwaite, who is modeling the café after experiences he's had in other similarly indoor-living cities (though for obvious climatic reasons) like Portland and Seattle.

Serving coffee, tea, smoothies and soft drinks as well as light foods such as sandwiches, pastries and granola, the café will incorporate used-book sales by a partner that has yet to be identified and a vinyl-records sales component overseen by Benjamin Coy of the Bargain DJ Collective. Wine and beer sales are very likely to follow, also.

Additional café programming will feature live bands, poetry nights and possibly an indoor farmer's market. The lobby café also will likely attract the blogger ilk as the building-wide Wi-Fi is complimentary. Regulars will be cherished and catered to, says Cornthwaite, so as to further develop Downtown's burgeoning sense of community.

Just beyond the café's tables, chairs and banquettes lay Emergency Arts' 20 tenant micro-suites — formerly the 95,000-square-foot medical building's exam rooms and labs — which now will be home to artists, graphic designers, jewelers, a bicycle cooperative and other business. Las Vegas' own Jerry Misko will be creating a mural to adorn the building's exterior. It is anticipated that the two entities will function as partners, driving business to and building awareness for one another.

Another fortuitous element of the project, the café's lobby is slated to become the new permanent home to the Burlesque Hall of Fame. It seems appropriate somehow that Downtown Las Vegas be your one-stop-shop for pastries and pasties.

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