During high school, Kelly Segre recalls sitting in a Ventura coffeehouse in the 1990s sans internet or cellphone.
“We were really the last generation to experience analog life,” she says. “We didn’t really have cellphones or the internet until later.”
Her creation, Gré Coffeehouse and Art Gallery, is how she connects to her former life along with co-owner Jaime Watson, a childhood friend who used to haunt the same Ventura coffeehouse 20 years ago. Segre’s brother, Joe, is also behind the opening of this back-to-the-future art house in Palm Springs.
“We wanted an environment that breeds creativity, and we are the only indie coffee shop open late at night,” says Segre.
Photos adorning the walls of the 680-foot space blend Segre’s style, which she describes as “feminist and exploring the feminine mystique” and brother Joe’s fanciful creation of “characters using masks and other props.”
The gallery will rotate featured local artists monthly, as well as hosting poetry readings, acoustic music, and open mic nights. The cozy confines seat 25 indoors with shared outdoor seating in the courtyard of the Henry Frank Arcade Building, across the street from the Hyatt Palm Springs.
PHOTO BY KELLY SEGRE
The vinyl record collection and vintage furniture at Gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery are a throwback from the 1950s and ’60s.
VIDEO: Watch Kelly Segre create the Frozen Hot Chocolate featuring Ghirardelli chocolate syrup, sweetened ground chocolate, and no coffee.
Take in the art, drop a vinyl record from the store’s collection onto the turntable, and savor the award-winning Klatch Coffee from Rancho Cucamonga. The beans have taken top honors at “Best in Brew” contests in L.A., New York, and Orlando, Florida, and the company was awarded “Best Espresso in the World” at the World Barista Championships in Tokyo several years ago.
Many coffeehouses cultivate the high energy associated with their signature caffeinated products, but Kelly Segre prefers to “slow things down. We are not about fast service. It is about coming to stay and enjoy the space,” she says.
Gré Coffeehouse & Art Galllery, 278-C Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; www.grecoffeehouse.com