Steynberg Gallery: A Hidden Gem in San Luis Obispo

On Monterey Street right outside of downtown San Luis Obispo lies Steynberg Gallery, a coffee shop that is also caters to the interests of the artistic and musically driven.  Steynberg Gallery is easily overlooked by the residents of San Luis Obispo.  It is right at the northern end of Higuera Street—between Grand Avenue and California Boulevard—making it a considerably far walk from the heart of downtown.  That does not mean that it is any less special.

The front of the cafe, Steynberg Gallery, in SLO.  Picture taken by author.

The front of the cafe, Steynberg Gallery, in SLO. Picture taken by author.

Once you step foot in the cafe, you will notice the studious college students inhabiting the place.  Although it is full of college students, it is quiet with a peaceful and welcoming vibe.  The artistic aspect of the shop also makes the gallery feel like a real museum, which is always filled with thoughtful, quiet people.  This is only one of the many appeals to Steynberg.

Considering Steynberg is not as well-known as say, Kreuzberg, it is never fully packed.  This adds to the intimacy of the gallery, as well as contributes to a lack of chaos.  

Additionally, at first glance it looks like a small cafe on the outside, but once you enter, it is surprisingly large and splits into three wings.  This allows there to be more space in between tables, which leads to a more comfortable setting.

A Cal Poly nutrition major, Daniela Mattucci, just learned about the gallery this week with her roommate when they ran out of their morning coffee.  “We stopped by on the way to school this morning and I decided to come back,” Mattucci said.

When you walk into the cafe there is a stage smack dab in the middle with table sets nearby.  The three wings of the gallery, all contain seating: the first section contains the ordering and pick-up station; the second holds the stage; and the third has a bar and additional tables and chairs.

Mexican mocha, iced maui mocha, and the breakfast bagel at Steynberg Gallery in SLO.  Picture taken by author.

Mexican mocha, iced Maui mocha, and the breakfast bagel at Steynberg Gallery in SLO.  Picture taken by author.

Christina Pschorr, who is also a nutrition major at Cal Poly, admired the amount of space that the coffee shop has and the amount of seating, since it is hard to find somewhere to sit in many coffee shops.  “I really like that there are seats and good coffee,” Pschorr said.

Another perk to this coffee shop is that compared to other coffee joints, it is relatively cheap.  No beverage on the menu even hits the $5 mark, no matter what size it is.  Not only that, but there is a large variety of coffees and teas that can serve any taste bud.  And for those hungry passers-by, there is a sizable food menu to appease them as well.

It is a wonder how people find out about places such as Steynberg.  Word of mouth is the way many people have found themselves at the cafe.  Both Pschorr and Mattucci heard from their roommates while Abby Walker, a Cuesta student and barista at Steynberg, heard from her sister.  As a barista at Steynberg, Walker continues to spread the good word of this coffee shop.  “It is really good.  All the coffee is organic and I always recommend it.  The art shows are beautiful and it is a really cool place,” Walker said.

This past week was actually the first time I ever experienced Steynberg Gallery.  I was looking for the perfect place to eat, drink coffee, and study for midterms.  I was incredibly pleased.  Needless to say, I cannot wait for the next time I go downtown to study.  For more information on the coffee shop, you can always visit the Steynberg Gallery website.

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