A coffee shop and a skatepark, together?! Oh yes!
I was hanging out in the town of Lincoln, Nebraska, just skating around one morning. This guy walked by, looked at my Maryland plates, and Find That Coffee shirt. He then asked, “Have you been to The Bay coffee shop down the road?” I replied, “Never heard of it, but I’ll go check it out!” I handed him a Find That Coffee sticker, tossed my board in the car, and set my GPS to The Bay.
I pulled up to a massive gray building with a gorgeous awning, patio, and a halfpipe in the parking lot. Inside was just as cool. Walking into The Bay I was surrounded by exposed brick walls, concrete floors, exposed ceilings, tons of seating, and a coffee bar straight ahead. Inside the shop plants hung from the ceiling, some rad merch was displayed for sale, and really cool artwork was scattered throughout. This place was massive and I soon learned why.
I headed up to the counter and right away the baristas could tell I wasn’t a regular. I told them I had been traveling and checking out local coffee shops around the country. They were beyond excited that The Bay was on my map. I met Kieran, Shayne, Meg, and Aaron; they were nice enough to take a photo with me. Shayne walked me around the corner and showed me the workshop and Aaron gave me a tour of the skatepark. Stay tuned to learn more about that later in the article.
I did my usual technique of asking what the barista recommended. Right away Kieran said, “Man, you have to try the Citrus Magic.” I was intrigued and told him that it sounded good to me. He fills up a glass of ice, pours in cold brew, dash of coconut sugar, and grabbed an orange peel and a lighter. Next thing I know he’s lighting it on fire and bamn! Drops it into the drink to give it that zesty kick. The coffee roaster they used is Archetype in Omaha, Nebraska. I can still recall my first sip of that Citrus Magic over a year later; it was absolutely delicious! I haven’t found a similar drink since. Trust me, order it.
The Bay offers a few different kinds of pastries and, even better, they’re made in-house. They were almost all sold out but they still had a few tasty pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and sweet potato cheddar biscuits. Right as I was at the counter, someone came up and ordered one. You better hurry, these pastries sell out quickly.
One of the coolest things I learned from this visit was the fact that the entire space was all a nonprofit, created to be a great environment for everyone. Whether you are a kid looking to skate, a parent who wants to relax, a student who wants to study, or a dude traveling around trying out coffees, you can do it here. As of November 28, 2020, the skatepark just celebrated its 10th anniversary. They are a huge staple in the community and welcoming of all people. They offer free WIFI so people can use this place as a means to get work done and create.
The skatepark has quite a fascinating story behind it. Originally, the skatepark was much smaller. When expansion began on the new skatepark, a local concrete company decided to donate all the concrete needed. Every day, the company would stop by and empty their trucks after their main jobs were done. With 15 minutes notice at times, the staff and volunteers were out there building ramps and pouring the floors. They did an incredible job, this was by far the biggest skatepark I have ever been to. And now the original skatepark is a music venue where a number of bands perform regularly. If you are interested in skating, you can sign up for day passes, month passes, private lessons, skate school, and even rent a board or helmet. Keep your eyes out, Ryan Sheckler and his team were here back in October 2019!
The Creative Space
At the “Find Your Grind Space” you can create, anything! The Bay hosts many workshops in this space; when I was there they had just hosted an extensive workshop on photography where participants learned about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The Bay provides Mac desktops for people to learn on and an archive of skate magazines backed by @lookbacklibrary. I browsed the gallery around the corner. On one wall the topic was “Untold Migrant Stories – Empowering newly resettled immigrant and refugee youth through photography and digital media.” The other wall had photos of skateboarding, hiking, landscapes, and a butterfly by the artist @AawhanAawhan. I’ll post photos of both below the article.
There’s a huge variety of clothes and merch, anywhere from short sleeve t’s to hoodies to beanies to jackets and more! Be sure to pick up a cool shirt and represent such an awesome coffee shop and skatepark. This is a picture of the shirt I wish I bought when I was there! I’m hoping to visit again soon and meet Mike Smith, the founder of this awesome place.
The bathrooms were huge, full of supplies, and clean. There are two bathrooms – mens and womens – with multiple stalls in each, perfect for a skatepark/coffee shop. It would be awesome if they had a muralist come in and tag The Bay on the wall. No complaints, great job, I will rank this an 8.2/10.