Scarlet City Roasting

Pin ball machines go with craft beer, why not espresso? Maybe, especially espresso given how well Scarlet City works. It’s situated on an Emeryville corner surrounded by the out-of-control generic condo developments that are rapidly consuming every bit of open space in the Bay Area. The location isn’t exactly gemütlich, concrete is the governing architectural material, but Scarlet is about coffee, science fiction, and pin ball so you can easily distract yourself. They even have a trailer.

Coffee is in evidence through the central bar which, in contrast to the trend of hosting espresso blends, Scarlet roasts its own. The default Warp Drive blend is rich, sweet, and is rendered with a thick crema by the resident Marzocco. In even starker contrast, they only serve espresso drinks. These are people worth knowing, perhaps even loving. Their roasting schedule is posted on the web site so that you can buy it fresh but really, get out of the house and leave your computer at home because there’s no wi-fi here, and experience a cup of well made espresso. Savor it then proceed to the science fiction theme.

The bar is lined with models from science fiction films, Star Wars and Star Trek are well represented but I’m guessing that Gene Roddenberry is the patron saint since the bar is in the shape of a Star Trek insignia and not the Millennium Falcon. The back walls are lined by science fiction pinball games. On my last visit Terminator 2 and Demolition Man consumed the most quarters which, at a minimum of fifty cents a pop, go faster than when I was young and flipper happy. The Space Invaders pin ball game is the most vintage dated, covered with H.R. Giger inspired/ripped off drawings.

H.R. Giger's influence abounds.
H.R. Giger’s influence abounds.


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