Neighboring San Diego’s downtown is Barrio Logan, a quickly evolving artistic industrial area with Mexican roots. At its heart is Chicano Park, and just down the block is a coffee shop embracing the partnership of cafe, cultura and galeria. Bienvenido a Por Vida.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Ben Hitch Contributing writer
The literal translation of Por Vida is “for life,” a phrase one says when they are committed to something. The name of this cafe came by no accident as the dedication to the craft of caffeine and embodiment of the surroundings is unmatched. From the moment you walk through the doors you feel a sense of pride, passion, and devotion to always putting forth their best in show. Not to mention, Frida Kahlo and the Virgin de Guadalupe keeping a watchful eye as you move throughout the shop.
Por Vida portrays a way of life to be admired and one that they’ll happily welcome you into,
Aside from some of SD’s best baristas, the espresso bar is offset by a hand-painted mural encompassing the entire wall. It’s comprised of the image of praying hands with long black fingernails in a bed of roses alongside a vibrant blue license plate reading PORVIDA and tucked in the corner, is a bouncing lowrider. The entirety of the painting, down to the fine details, stimulates el Barrio culture and Chicano art. As the persona of Por Vida, the praying hands are the centerpiece of the shop and represent a way of life dedicated to self, family, courage, sacrifice, and respect. Beyond the mural and the heart of the shop is a gallery tucked away in the back. Always dedicated to local artists, it further emphasizes the marriage of cafe and culture that Por Vida strives to uphold.
The menu has the standards in addition to a cultured surprise of Speciality Drinks. You really can’t go wrong with your pick, but any of the horchata cold brews or lattes are a sure fire. They also compose a variety of Spicy Lemonades, Aguas Frescas and Floral Lattes. The Spicy Mango Lemonade with a tajinned rim is a can’t miss on a SoCal afternoon. To accompany the drinks, there is a selection of pan dulces to satisfy the morning sweet tooth.
Por Vida is a gathering place in Barrio Logan for coffee, friends and cultural and community events. On any day of the week, there may be a newly hung exhibit, La Vuelta Car Cruise, Tijuana takeover and/or elote fresh off the grill in the adjacent vacant lot. And even on a quiet day on Logan Ave, you can’t miss the black and white tattoo graffiti styled signage over the front door or regularly parked lowrider out front. Por Vida portrays a way of life to be admired and one that they’ll happily welcome you into, once you’ve taken the initiative to knock on their door.
And remember, “at the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo.
Por Vida neighbors a record store, tattoo parlour, and taco shop. What else do you need?
After coffee, #hittheconcrete for tacos – Las Cuatros Milpas or ¡Sulud!
Happy Hour 5-7pm, Tues – Thurs