Uptown’s newest coffee shop, Subsecreto, might be one of the oddest places I’ve set foot in. It helped that I was ushered into the door “in secret” with a serpent pin to join about 150 other people in a cramped building with black-brick exterior on Friday night.
I was handed a plastic cup of Prosecco and sipped it as I took a look a the other guests slipping through the door. There, by the by the glass case of baubles, were the two owners of Hilliard Studio Method. There, under the candelabra, was Caleb Clark, founder of retailer Enemy to Fashion. He was clad in bright purple shoes.
Over there, by the bookshelf, was CreativeMornings/Charlotte co-host Matt Olin, peering over a book titled: “Which Cult Should I Join?”
It was an unexpected mix.
Then a lever was pulled and the bookshelf swung open to reveal an office and event space. We had made it to Subsecreto, the new coffee shop concept that shares a space with offices run by Clark and Corri Smith, owner of marketing, social media and PR company Black Wednesday.
The coffee shop, located at 325 E. 9th St. near First Ward Park, is their brainchild, too. It will serve craft coffees designed by “coffee whisperer” Lindsey Pitman of Trade & Lore and Hyde Brewing. Look for four unique beverage recipes to start, along with batch brew, lattes, cappuccinos and espresso.
Here are four oddities Subsecreto promises to offer when it opens to the public Aug. 11:
(1) Serpentine membership pins
The first 13 people who walk through the door on opening day will get a Subsecreto Society membership pin. It adds an aura of intimacy, since Subsecreto means “in secret” in Latin and the space was created by Smith and Clark to exist for offbeat and eccentric people who are thinkers and doers.
Others who wish to join the Society can purchase a pin for $13 and receive membership benefits that include a 10 percent discount on coffee. Just don’t forget to wear the pin when you walk in.
(2) Disappearing pieces
The decor is plenty mysterious to begin with, with black birds mounted on the wall next to a canvas of angels, old black and white photos, a rat figurine, shelves of trinkets and crystals and books, and a glass jar containing a head statue. The colors are dark.
To add to the oddness, the press release promises, there will be “new, old and interesting pieces that will disappear over time, never to be seen again.”
(3) Offbeat retail items
Scour the shelves of books with titles like “Weird,” “The Mission of Art” and “Which Cult Should I Join?” Other items include field notebooks and pens, curiosities, metaphysical objects and taxidermy.
Look to that glass case for more crystals, as well as an array of jewelry pieces of interesting shapes and sizes.
(4) A portal
That bookshelf swings open to reveal “The Space,” where Enemy to Fashion and Black Wednesday have a coworking-style office. Here, designs and creative work for brands like Hilliard Studio Method, Chopt and Johnny Fly Co. are carried out.
“Subsecreto is a creative space designed for the exploration of the unknown,” Smith said in a press release. “In addition to the inspired storefront, Caleb and I have come together to make a unique headquarters for our teams.”
Despite the membership perk, Subsecreto is open to all who enter.
But consider keeping quiet about it.
“In today’s self-indulgent social media culture it’s tempting to tell everyone what you’re doing,” Clark said in a press release. “But I feel that also prevents people from actually making shit happen. From this sort of retreat, from our own little world, we introduce Subsecreto.”
Step inside Subsecreto
Location: 325 E. 9th St.
Hours: Wednesday/Thursday: 7 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday/Saturday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Photos: Katie Toussaint, Black Wednesday, Lunahzon