When I try to imagine a cafe in a bike shop, the first place my brain goes to is a Mr. Coffee from the '80s, burning a house blend while I breathe in the rich smell of tires and oil and biting into a stale bagel. Best case scenario it is a room full of sweat, tight spandex and complaints about how few bike lanes there are in Spokane.
However, Pathfinder Cafe is one of the friendliest and homey cafes I’ve ever entered. It reflects the owner, Sarah Neupert’s, personality perfectly.
“My heart wanted a friendly space for everyone. It was also a way to bring more people into cycling and to create a place for people to gather,” Neupert said.
Neupert and her husband created a cafe with a fun and kitschy aesthetic. There’s distressed wood lining the coffee bar, pops of yellow accents and even bicycle seats on the wall that double as decorations and coat hangers. Every detail utilizes how the cafe lives inside a bike shop. Even the coasters have bike chains wrapped around them.
Pathfinder Cafe serves some of the most amazing coffee ever. The baristas will make you their own concoction if you don’t know what to order. In addition to pastries, the cafe has acai bowls, smoothies, a range of toasts and many other delicious and healthy options.
“You can be a high maintenance [customer] here because we have a high maintenance menu. We have gluten-free and vegan options,” Neupert said.
In addition to being extremely accommodating, Pathfinder Cafe is working towards being as green as possible.
“We are working towards getting our Green Restaurant Accreditation. Since we started this to give back to the community we work on a token system. If you dine in we give you a 10-cent token to donate to one of our charities since we didn’t have to spend 10 cents on to-go cups,” Neupert said.
The super cute string lights hanging from the ceiling will have you feeling like you’re eating at an outdoor cafe in the height of summer, even when it’s really been snowing and you haven’t seen the sun in three whole weeks.
“I really love the vibe here, it’s really fun and the people are really friendly,” said Diana Lonsky, a barista at Pathfinder Cafe. “The first day this cafe opened, Sarah came in and said she was so excited. I had to check it out and when I did I loved it and asked to work here immediately,” Lonsky said.
This is the perfect place to do homework, get work done or to just hang out while contemplating going on more bike rides — which is extremely tempting when the cafe's ambiance not-so-subtly suggests that you could totally start cycling.
Even though Pathfinder Cafe just opened Dec. 10, it already has plans on expanding their cafe.
“We are going to continue and build a patio out front for the spring and summer months. It’s been pretty busy but once it warms up a lot of people are going to biking, we are going to need another blender for acai bowls,” Neupert said.
With gentle vibes, a great aesthetic and a succulent on every table, this is a great cafe to hang out at and consume way too much coffee and food.