San Luis Obispo coffee shop Nautical Bean opened a second location off of High Street Feb. 12. The new shop is a much larger space than the original Nautical Bean, showcasing even more of its eclectic decor and distinctive ambiance.
Owner Brett Jones decided to open the second location after witnessing the close relationships established by the employees and customers of the first Nautical Bean, located in Laguna Village, on Los Osos Valley Road.
“In the first location, we would see the same faces every day and some new faces mixed in, which is really cool,” Jones said. “That’s why we chose this location, because it’s tucked into the neighborhoods. We can build that same sense of community here.”
Nautical Bean Manager Lura Muckey has worked at the coffee shop for about four and a half years. Muckey said she appreciates the bonds that the shop has allowed her to build with her coworkers and customers.
“I have really good friendships that have developed by working here,” Muckey said. “It’s just a fun environment over all.”
According to Muckey, the debut of the new Nautical Bean has been in the works for more than a year.
As the opening day approached, Jones, Muckey and other seasoned employees prepared the café and its staff for business.
Since the older location has already established a solid clientele, there was no major public announcement for the opening of the new location.
“We didn’t advertise or anything,” Jones said. “We just turned on the open signs and put some Instagram posts out there and that was it.”
Although the success rate of a new business can be uncertain and nerve wracking, the new location debuted with ease and quickly gained momentum in the San Luis Obispo community.
According to Jones, the café has had a steady flow of customers, reaching about the same level as the other location within the first week.
“It’s been really good,” Jones said. “I’m sure there’s a honeymoon period where everyone’s checking this new place out, but that’s the most important time to give great service.”
Muckey agreed, stating that the new location has remained busy since opening day.
“We didn’t expect it to take off this quickly,” Muckey said. “I think it’s just going to grow from here.”
A perfect fit for all
As a café specifically catering to San Luis Obispo locals, Nautical Bean’s new location attracts a diverse group of customers. The café’s booths, couches and tables seat 96 people comfortably, making it a go-to spot for students and families.
Psychology junior Rielly MacNeil has made the location her new study spot.
“Whether you’re by yourself or with friends, you can find a space that works,” MacNeil said. “It just feels really comfortable and more accepting than some other places where I almost feel like I need to, like, fit the vibe of the coffee shop.”
Perhaps the main contribution to the sensation of the new Nautical Bean is its eccentric decor. Miscellaneous paintings, frames and memorabilia cover every inch of the café. Jones’ goal was to make every corner of the location “Instagramable.”
“We have a part at the other location that has these really cool pictures and drop lights,” Jones said. “That’s the area that people would always come in and take pictures of for Instagram, so I designed this shop like that back area.”
Jones collected most of the pieces at the new location throughout the years. The café showcases everything from skateboard collections and local artwork to bikes and a vintage arcade system, setting it apart from other local coffee shops. According to Muckey, through its diverse displays, the café aims to appeal to everyone in some way.
Nautical Bean provides its customers with an assorted food and drink menu, which ranges from breakfast burritos and Chinese chicken to Nutty Bean coffee and Caramel Sutras.
“We’re what’s called a ‘second wave coffee shop,’” Jones said. “We’re more than happy to do all of those blended drinks, which is kind of a lost thing. Our menu is so vast and we do everything from scratch.”
Growing with the community
With such a high success rate in just a couple of weeks, Jones hopes to include even more options.
As of now, the new café has been booked as a small venue by different groups. Jones mentioned that local musicians have even expressed interest in using the space to hold open mic nights.
“I want to build an experience, not just a good café,” Jones said.
Jones refers to Nautical Bean as “coffee with an attitude” to describe the playful and easy-going relationship this local coffee shop has with its customers. His hope is that it carries onto the new location while expanding the brand and providing his employees with more opportunities. Ultimately, this new location will continue to expand the sense of community Nautical Bean takes so much pride in.