Café Dulce has been serving fine coffee and pastries to the Little Tokyo community for a little more than a year now, and, starting tonight, also will have a presence in the South Park neighborhood of downtown. The shop will launch an indefinite pop-up coffee bar in an empty, converted-warehouse space right around 11th and Hope. The space, which isn't that much bigger than your grandparents' one-car garage, will double as a makeshift art gallery that will be curated by Little Tokyo's Hold Up Art. After a successful soft opening of the coffee bar last week, the Dulce Pop | Hold Up will celebrate its official grand opening tonight at 6 p.m., with plenty of coffee from Stumptown and a few boxes of pizza to go around.

While Café Dulce's signature pastries and baked goods will be readily available here, the emphasis is on the coffee. Unlike the cafe, which serves LAMILL exclusively, the pop-up will feature coffee from both Stumptown and a guest roaster that will be rotated monthly.

To choose each month's guest roaster, store manager and head barista Frank La says, the cafe is looking at a variety of big and small specialty coffee roasters across the country. Every month, they'll pick out four coffees that they particularly like and poll the public, American Idol-style, to decide which should go behind the bar.

Coffee bar at Cafe Dulce's pop-up; Credit: Daniel Chae

Coffee bar at Cafe Dulce's pop-up; Credit: Daniel Chae

The coffee won't be the only thing that will constantly rotate. The art, too, will be ever-evolving as Hold Up switches up the selection on a regular basis; so far, James Haunt, Tony Hong and Brian Lee are among the artists whose work will be featured at the pop-up. The overall effect, La says, will be an “always changing environment, whether through art or coffee.”

The constant ebb and flow of coffee and art is, in a way, part of the pop-up's draw. Depending on what's on the walls, what's in the brew and what's on your mind, Dulce Pop | Hold Up might feel like an art gallery with an excellent coffee bar on one day, and more like a coffee bar with great art on another.

Or maybe it will feel like something else entirely. The crew is planning special monthly events that will see chefs and other folks collaborating and creating in this little corner of the downtown world. Ultimately, La hopes to see the space grow into a “hub for creativity, whether through coffee, art or food.”

Dulce Pop | Hold Up is located at 425 W. 11th St. and will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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