Owner Jesse Diaz opened Star Lounge Coffee Bar in West Town’s Smith Park area in 2007, in a space that was previously a neighborhood bar. He started out roasting beans upstairs in a hot air popcorn popper. Diaz now roasts at another site, in a professional Sivetz, under the label Dark Matter, with a shout-out to Bridgeport Coffee’s Mike Pilkington for letting him train there hands-on. Dark Matter supplies beans not only to SLCB, but a handful of local restaurants, including Alinea and Longman & Eagle. The bar back displays brewing supplies for sale, including Chemex beakers and pour-over cones. Diaz shares his encyclopedic knowledge of coffee in a nearly nonstop stream-of-consciousness caffeinated conversation, and he’s shockingly tolerant in a culture where hinting at milk, sugar, or ice can provoke a bitchface. Diaz focuses on the important things in coffee, like visiting farms in El Salvador to establish relationships with farmers and earning the right to buy exclusively from their trees. Diaz takes a more culinary approach to coffee with a menu of prepared coffee drinks and his own cold-brewed coffee— on tap and in bottles—called Chocolate City Coffee Bomber. Sip at the bar or backyard porch.
Photo: Louisa Chu