Trouble’s second incarnation is a half block off Third on Yosemite amidst homes and sundry light industrial buildings. It feels like SOMA in the 80’s and 90’s, bedraggled but with creative spark. The city is obviously growing this direction, the sunny weather is already there.
And then there’s Trouble which has carved out its own identity replete with a parklet that provides quite a contrast to everything else on the block. It has a concrete base with steel stadium seating facing the tiny store front. Perhaps it’s a riff on nearby and soon-to-be-demolished Candlestick. It has a very strange effect because you sit with your back to the street and face into the espresso bar.
And it is a bar. It’s tiny with three or four stools that look they were stolen from the Zeitgeist or Benders. Steel and the occasional funky ceramic item which could just as easily have been manufactured in the 60’s as today mesh with an Ornette Coleman album cover, cassette tapes, copies of Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins with Tom Frost on the cover, and Renato Poggioli’s The Theory of the Avant-Garde. But they’re all purely decorative: The focus is clearly on the experience.
There is something of a secret espresso menu but in the way of these things it’s not entirely secret because people like me write about it and it’s not entirely novel either with variations on an Americano and depth charges. I didn’t try any of them. I did try their espresso which is a nicely layered experience. Roasted by Intelligentsia on Potrero Hill, it starts in the high range, bright with very little acid. Beth, the barista at the time of my visits, described it as having a mineral sensation which, upon hearing the term, was perfectly descriptive but I’m not sure that I’d ever arrive at it myself. The cup then moves through a nice mid palate nuttiness, finishing with a dark chocolate roundness. It is served in a little hand sculpted ceramic cup with a murky green glaze. The aesthetic is totalizing.
A very engaging barista complements the funny customer base. One day it was steel guys and gear heads. Another it was creative types. Yosemite Place just down the street is full of offices with bland names that stir the imagination so I’m sure there’s some creative ferment amidst its halls. Then again, they may all just be grow houses and money laundering operations. Who knows. Feel free to jump in and write a counter-narrative here. The music drifts from place to place. A Spacemen 3 cassette tape played on a Walkman through an audio jack first complemented, then sparked conversation. The cassette collection inspires with classics like PIL and many a hand decorated mix tape; sensibility to burn.
Should you take a stroll you’ll find lots of crap sitting around for the taking. A friend filled my trunk with shelving and let a few broken pieces of curb stare him down. We didn’t even seriously consider the entire Chevy Blazer center console but only looked for the rest of the car.
There be treasure on that Yosemite.