Java, with a Side of Geocities

After months of construction, the cafe was ready for business. Officially opening the doors on June 16th, 1995, the Speakeasy Cafe offered an array of delectable eats, Kalani Organica espresso, unconventional sodas, beer and wine served up to the rumpled masses.

Originally, the cafe was peppered with several text-only VT100 machines that enabled customers to access their Speakeasy email accounts -- using Pine, a text-only email software developed by the University of Washington -- shell accounts, bulletin board systems and more. In one corner, an array of graphic terminals were corralled for customers to browse the Internet, leveraging the cafe’s ‘blazing fast’ T1 connection to enjoy early streaming audio and video, or to peruse any of the thousands of GeoCities websites featuring rotating torches and deep quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

After opening, Speakeasy streamed the first live Internet art opening, featuring Sky Cries Mary, developed their first product as an ISP -- Internet in a Burlap Sack -- and helped Jack Straw Productions launch their streaming web-only radio show, Sonarchy, which would go on to find a home as one of KEXP’s most beloved weekly shows.

Snapshots

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Events & Experiences

Hypnotizing Chickens

Hypnotizing Chickens

One day, I was walking from the Pike Place Market to our apartment in Belltown. On the way, there

Crushing Through Problems

Crushing Through Problems

One day, just days before our scheduled opening, our electrical inspector was doing the final

Press: Coffee And A Few Bytes — Internet Cafes Serve Up New Ways To Get Wired, Blending Technology, Community And Entertainment

Press: Coffee And A Few Bytes — Internet Cafes Serve Up New Ways To Get Wired, Blending Technology, Community And Entertainment

After months of wielding jackhammers, running cable, wrangling 2 x 4’s into actual furniture

The Whole Internet Guide and Catalog

The Whole Internet Guide and Catalog

The day my girlfriend left for school back east, a friend took me out to cheer me up. He brought

Press: Art Of The Net — I-Music Offers Internet’s First Live Gallery Opening

Press: Art Of The Net — I-Music Offers Internet’s First Live Gallery Opening

Roderick and Anisa Romero of Sky Cries Mary hold the first live-streamed art gallery opening,

Tripping Out on Coffee

Tripping Out on Coffee

I worked regular shifts in the cafe for some time, which I enjoyed in the extreme. I also got to

Press: Dramatic Additions — New Performance Spaces Are Springing Up In Unlikely Places

Press: Dramatic Additions — New Performance Spaces Are Springing Up In Unlikely Places

As Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood begins to be revitalized, Speakeasy’s backroom

Press: Tune In To New Sonarchy, A Web Site For Sound

Press: Tune In To New Sonarchy, A Web Site For Sound

Jack Straw Productions launches one of the first streaming radio stations, Sonarchy. 20 years,