Gilroy’s own version of ‘Cheers’

There is nothing contrived by man by which so much happiness is
produced as by a good tavern.

– James Boswell
Remember the bar on the old TV sitcom


The place where

everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came,

as the lyrics said.
“There is nothing contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.” – James Boswell

Remember the bar on the old TV sitcom “Cheers?” The place where “everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came,” as the lyrics said. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Gilroy has its own Cheers. Only ours serves non-alcoholic beverages like chai tea, gourmet coffees, Italian sodas and really great lemon bars.

Every day of the week you can find someone at Garlic City Coffee and Tea at the corner of Fifth and Monterey streets who knows your name. It’s where everybody runs into everybody else, the neighborhood watering hole, the central hub bringing people together downtown. “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got,” the song says, and at Garlic City Coffee, people are holding interviews and wheeling and dealing.

“It’s my office,” more than one person tells me. Everyone from physical therapists to grant writers to feral cat rescuers meet there to brainstorm their plans for the future. Business meetings are conducted, from simple one-on-one meetings to executive board meetings.

“Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.” Both priests and Protestants get together to talk in the caring and relaxing atmosphere of the coffee shop. People from all walks of life are mulling things over, detoxing from daily stress or just leaving their cares behind for a moment.

Just as music is part of the culture of any pub worth its weight in Guinness, Garlic City Coffee owner Mary Taulbee has recruited many different local musicians to play. The shop is drawing people downtown every other Friday night to enjoy such musical treats as The South Valley Boys serving up barrel-aged bluegrass and country or John Garcia playing the blues. Garcia’s work is currently riding the charts with the very successful CD “Blues With a Vengeance,” on which he plays alongside John Lee Hooker, Jr.

Last Friday featured The Bill Thompson & Mark Gentry Duo’s jazz and blues with a bit of funk. Taulbee is hoping more people will come out to hear some good music, have a good cup of coffee and support our local downtown businesses.

Most recently, the Easter Bunny was spotted using the coffee shop as headquarters for an Easter Basket fundraiser. Thanks to the contributions of those who met at the coffee shop, and the Gilroy Unified School District’s Migrant Education Program, Easter baskets were filled for the children who live at the Rodriquez Migrant Camp in Gilroy.

These Easter baskets were not just filled with candy either. They were filled with quality educational toys, designed to help children to do better in school.

“You want to go where you can see our troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

Sometimes it’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. It’s an old saying but still holds true.

For all the complaints I hear about downtown Gilroy, Garlic City Coffee and Tea makes more than its share of positive contributions. It’s a cultural nexus; it’s a home away from home; it’s a hub that brings the whole neighborhood together.

You might even say it’s the heartbeat of downtown Gilroy.

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