Caffeinated paradise: Caje’s new outdoor location

Nick Jensen, Staff Writer

Need an escape from campus, but worried about the pandemic? Try Caje’s new outdoor location across from the Arlington Theatre, where coffee and community intersect.

Caje, the popular Santa Barbara coffee franchise famous for its materials made in-house, opened a new location on State Street last week. In a socially distanced interview, the manager of the Haley Street location, Jacob Mabee, explained the local franchise’s opening process and their hopes for the future of the new location.

According to Mabee, the move only took three months. The Petros Brand, a conglomerate of restaurants owned by a single entrepreneur, previously relied on the small plaza for weddings, but reached out to Caje to offer the property in the hopes that they would be able to “take advantage of the space.” Already possessing the necessary permits, the new location quickly set up shop after a brief cleaning period. The location is still available as an occasional wedding venue, but will predominantly be used as a coffee shop and nighttime bar for those wanting a safe, outdoor experience.

The overall goal of this location is to create a ‘community space for people to come together.’”

This Caje location, like all the others, focuses on providing a pleasant and relaxing experience. Stepping into the space for the first time, Mabee recalled “falling in love immediately.” An open courtyard decorated with overhead tarps and numerous couches, the Caje on State Street offers an inviting atmosphere for those looking to study and drink coffee in a socially distanced way.  

Caje emphasizes intentionality — it has “high standards for itself,” the manager explained. Mabee notices that many people nowadays lack a desire to actually “sit down and enjoy their coffee.” However, Caje desires “to make it feel comfortable” when customers enter, inviting them to stay and actually enjoy their drinks and the company of others. The overall goal of this location is to create a “community space for people to come together.”  

Although Santa Barbara has reinstated a restriction on live music, Mabee affirmed that, in the future, they would “love for artists to come in.” Eventually, there will be opportunities for local musicians and artists to “fill the space,” providing yet another way for the community to enjoy the physicality of the shop. Until then, however, the coffee shop will hear the lovely reverberations of music from the Arlington Theatre.

This new and unexpected opening will hopefully act as a harbinger for more locations in the future, as Caje looks to expand into other cities, such as Los Angeles. For now, Caje remains Santa Barbara’s hidden treasure, growing to engage the community across the city.