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North Park’s Claire de Lune Coffee Shop Closes For Good

Aired 2/18/16 on KPBS News.

The Claire de Lune coffee lounge has served its last latte. Located in the heart of North Park, the once popular morning coffee spot and nightlife destination for live music and poetry readings closed its doors Tuesday.

A man hangs a for rent sign on the building that housed Claire de Lune, a popular North Park coffee shop, Feb. 17, 2016.

The Claire de Lune coffee lounge has served its last latte. Located in the heart of North Park, the once popular morning coffee spot and nightlife destination for live music and poetry readings closed its doors Tuesday.

Claire Magner opened the coffee shop 19 years ago.

Magner said she doesn’t drink coffee and when she opened Claire de Lune, she didn’t know how to run a business either.

“I knew nothing about making money, but I could throw a great party. Every time I threw a party, 100 people would show up, so I figured why not open a coffee shop and I’ll run it like my parties,” Magner said.

When she leased the yellow building on the corner of Kansas Street and University Avenue, North Park was not the hip neighborhood it is today.

"The jewel in the ghetto they used to call me," Magner said. "I thought, that’s terrible. It’s really not the ghetto. It’s a little depressed area, and it’s going to change one day."

When Magner took over the location, she took the security bars off the windows, hung artwork on the walls and bought overstuffed furniture at estate sales. Before long, Claire de Lune became a popular hangout.

Today, North Park is a hub of trendy bars and restaurants. That affected Magner's business.

"I just noticed it started to change when we got very commercialized and when we got labeled hipster," she said.

Magner lost her night business because she didn’t want to get a liquor license.

"I don’t want to be that straight-edged woman passing judgment on people," she said. “But the truth is, alcohol brings a whole different clientele."

Magner is proud of what she built in the neighborhood, but said it’s time for the Claire de Lune party to end.

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