With print dying, this local paper keeps the lights on by doubling as a stunning cafe and cocktail bar.
Between 2004 and 2018, almost 1,800 local newspapers across the United States went out of print. The Big Bend Sentinel of Marfa, Texas, however, is not one of them. After 100 years in print, the paper is toasting to the next century of coverage with renovations that include a cafe and a cocktail bar.
After the longtime owners sold the business to Maisie Crow and Max Kabat, the pair of New York transplants opted to diversify the longstanding paper’s income. They relocated the paper’s offices to a recently shuttered dive bar in the heart of town, which had been a funeral home before that. After extensive sage-burning and renovations, the newspaper-cafe-cocktail bar is a masterpiece of desert-minimalist interior design.
Partial stucco walls received a splash of blinding white paint, dramatizing the building’s original adobe brick laid behind it. A high, pale wooden ceiling gives the space levity, while rustic, earth-toned Scandinavian furniture invites visitors to get comfortable. Desert plants, Southwestern rugs, and local art tie it all together and remind you that it’s still Texas. It’s painstakingly Instagrammable without sacrificing a touch of dignity. There’s also food.
To serve as an anytime-locale for the town’s 1,700 residents, the cafe (also named The Sentinel) serves not only coffee and baked goods, but cocktails, tacos, and pozole. A slew of local artisans, remote workers, and a handful of full-time reporters from the building’s adjoining newsroom will bounce in and out throughout the day while visitors lounge on gorgeous leather furniture and scarf down breakfast burritos. Supporting local journalism doesn’t have to be a chore.
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