Retrospect Coffee Bar blends history with crepes, Coffee

10/18/2017 Picture Missing

P.W Knight, Contributor

There is a new high quality coffee shop near campus now! Through an extensive three-year renovation process, the historical Gulf Oil Station just across from campus is open for business. The Retrospect Coffee Bar is located at the corner of Alabama and 3709 La Branch St Houston, Texas, 77004, on the southeast side of Campus just near the student parking lot and parking garage.

The community space has a rich history stretching back to the 1920’s. According to the business’s web site, the building originally opened in 1921 as one of Houston’s first Gulf Oil Filling Stations. It served the community in this role for 50 years, but as times changed and with the evolution of the convenience store and gas station as one entity, the old Gulf Oil Filling station fell into disrepair. Abandoned for over 40 years, the structure occasionally served as a canvas for public art, informally curated by the Station museum for Contemporary Art located across the street, also a must-see attraction near campus.

The rebirth of the 96-year old historical landmark was well planned. Painstaking measures were taken by the owners and architects to restore the building and its beauty to its original glory.

The structure, which began as a neighborhood gas station, is now serving up lattes, crepes, and craft beers. They offer discounts for students, faculty, veterans, bike riders, and walkers. The caliber of coffee served is of the highest grade, and the baristas have an incredible depth of knowledge to educate anyone who is curious about the different intricacies and methods of roasting, brewing, and drinking coffee. Just feel free to ask Kourtney or Jon, never without his lucky Houston Astros hat, if you have any questions. They are two of the most knowledgeable Baristas on hand to help enlighten those who are interested in coffee philosophy.

I asked Kourtney what the inspiration was for picking this spot for their shop, she gazed at the coffee brewer with intense concentration maintaining focus on the espresso shot I had ordered while helping other customers and while not taking her eyes off of work smiled widely and said “it’s an absolutely community centered space.” It was the community and the history in the building that brought this secret gift to our neighborhood and campus, and I encourage the community to go and experience this space and study and be inspired.

Another important aspect of Retrospect Coffee Bar is that it not only offers high quality coffee but also has a selection of beer, wine, pastries and other snacks for those needing a quick bite during a busy day of studying and working.

Just to add one more reason to stop by, in case some of you readers are not already convinced, those in our community concerned about climate change will be happy to know that the owners made a concerted effort to incorporate sustainable and energy efficient materials in the building. They connected an old shipping container to the station for bathrooms and a prep area. Wood from the roof was used for the hallway between the two structures. All of the windows were removed and sent to a local carpenter to be refurbished. Outside, they installed a rainwater collection system and TrueGrid pavers that absorb 100% of the rain with zero runoff.

The Retrospect Bar website offers images of the station through its evolution over the years and detailed menu of what it has to offer.