Bye :(
Bye :(
Photo by Kristine Hoang

Paradise Perks, Irvine's Coolest Coffee Shop, Closes Because of Noise Complaints; A Eulogy and a Rant

As of June 22, 2014, Paradise Perks, the best coffee shop in the City of Irvine has closed its doors. Why? Was business poor? Was foot traffic not enough? No. Paradise Perks closed for the most stereotypical Irvinian reason ever: Its Wednesday night open mics, which ran from 7 to 11 p.m., attracted too many noise complaints.

It's a shame, really. Now, the block where Paradise Perks once stood is a (metaphorical) hole. And while there's talk of a potential new location, without the coffee shop, the strip mall has become the dead block it was five years ago, before the café opened.

Perks brought excitement to that random chunk of Irvine. While nearby businesses closed at 10 p.m., the coffee shop was alive and well until 11 on Wednesday and Thursday nights (If you live in Irvine, you know how much of a big deal that is). And though it was the amps and laughter that drove the coffee shop to close, it's those very things that made everything so worthwhile. They were certainly more worthwhile than the sound of the cars passing by on Irvine Center Drive, that's for sure.

The things that will be missed: The laughter, whether from board games or a comedian, shop's manager and resident magician Jeromy Chan, who'd pull a handkerchief out of a top hat every once in a while, the lime green walls, and the look on someone's face as they got ready to play a song that just wrote. Oh, and the macadamia latte too. The place was always serene. It made you just darn happy.

Sure, other places are still around, but they're far flung and the community feeling just isn't there. For open mics, you now have to go all the way to Costa Mesa and the Gypsy Den. For board games, it's another 15 minutes over to Sweet Elle Café in Huntington Beach. But those places won't have Jeromy doing magic tricks and there won't be spoken words pieces performed by Uncultivated Rabbits.

So let it be known that Irvine will certainly miss you, Paradise Perks. Things just won't be the same without you.

Now on page two, a rant by Charles Lam

It's safe to say that I'm upset that Paradise Perks has closed. It was one of the most unique and interesting business that existed in Irvine, and the fact that I have to use the past tense to refer to it is a tragedy.

Everyone knows that Irvine has a very beige reputation. There are no real bars, most places are closed by 9 or 10, and the neighborhoods look eerily alike. The fact that Perks existed, that it broke up the monotony of Irvine, was a welcome surprise for anyone who went to UC Irvine, Irvine Valley College, or CSU Fullerton's Irvine campus (and the high schoolers too, I guess. Oh, and the people who like... things).

Really: It was a mostly open air café where you could expose yourself to live music or poetry or just study. It was well designed, it had niche boardgames, and it was, as Kristine put it, serene. I can't tell you how many first dates happened there (I once had a laughably horrible one, but it was okay 'cause at least I had coffee). In hindsight, I guess it's safe to say that Perks was too good for the city.

But what upsets me most was why Perks decided to close and possibly move shop (Please, please reopen): They got too many noise complaints. This little coffee shop that was located in the far corner of a pretty big parking lot and was flanked by a golf course, a college campus, two parking lots and two of the most busy streets in Irvine got too many noise complaints. That's ridiculous.

But, I guess, what else can you expect from Irvine? Here's hoping Perks finds a new, more appreciative home, 'cause they really deserve it.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!

You can also follow Charles Lam on Twitter @charlesnlam. He's less sardonic there, we swear.


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