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The Red Cat
2901 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Visit their website at www.RedCatCoffeehouse.com.
This venue offers food and beverages! See the menu here!
The Red Cat (formerly o kafes!) was started by Kirk Summers and Erin Isbell as a specialty-grade, wholesale roasting business in the Tuscaloosa area. All roasting was done in small batches in a 5-kilo Ambex roaster and sold to businesses in the greater Birmingham market. After obtaining TransFairUSA certification the next year, Kirk and Erin began dealing in 100% Fair Trade coffees. The certification behind these coffees, which are the best quality on the market, ensure that the farmers and their families receive fair wages and benefits for their efforts. TransFairUSA has also been proactive in protecting the environment through its programs that teach farmers alternative and natural ways to grow their crops.
After three successful years of selling coffee at the Pepper Place Farmer's Market in Birmingham, The Red Cat moved into the nearby Martin Biscuit Bldg. as a retail and roasting business together in the old Amani Raha Martini Bar location. Kirk and Erin opened their 2300 sq. ft. coffeehouse/roasterie on August 24, 2008 with a concert by Sally Barris from Nashville. Nowadays they sell their signature lattes, roast coffee on site, and host numerous concerts by regional and national musicians. Local artists Amy Peterson and Allison Lathem display their vivid paintings on the walls. The Red Cat also sells t-shirts, coffee by the pound, and light lunch items, including Greek spanakopita and tyropita.
About the name and the logo: Years ago when the owners were establishing themselves as wholesale coffee roasters, they chose a name that reflected a complete focus on coffee. Thus "o kafes!" was born. Now that they have expanded to a coffeehouse, cafe, and music venue all rolled into one, the name is no longer up to the task.
With that in mind, a name change was needed and "The Red Cat" was the natural choice. Not only does the new name reflect a logo that embodies the owners' feelings about coffee, it speaks to the uniqueness of the coffeehouse decor and concept. At the same time, it conjures up the image of a night music venue (think of The Bluebird in Nashville, for example). But have no fear: The ownership stays the same, as does the coffee roasted on site and the acoustic singer/songwriter music that is part of every weekend. And so, with a new name in hand, The Red Cat takes its cozy little place in the life of Birmingham, growing and aiming to please its customers daily.