Hustle and bustle culture has been all the rage these days. We’re supposed to get up by 5 to do our daily affirmations, answer all of our emails by 6, go for a quick jog by 7, and take a shower by 7:30. By 8 o’clock, we should be getting ready for our first class, but, honestly, I’d rather stop at Contra’s.
The coffee and tea shop, decked with all types of cool and original art, is Orange Circle’s best-kept secret. They are quite literally a tastemaker, creating new flavors of tea, coffee, and other special brews for their customers to enjoy.
Contra is also a big supporter of the Orange culture, hosting Sunday Socials where small clothing brands can sell their products to customers and keep most of their proceeds. As a matter of fact, when I stepped into my office today, everyone was talking about their most recent Sunday Social where they were able to grab coffee, check out the merchandise and try freshly baked cookies from Space Bun’s Bakery, a beloved local treasure.
On a normal day, Contra is still the home of two other small businesses. It’s part of their initiative to give new entrepreneurs opportunities to grow their brands. One of them is M. Lovewell’s, which is an Orange County card company that tends to add a little extra fun to the art, selling calligraphy pens that can help add a little razzle-dazzle to an ordinary, white canvas. The other is The Greenhouse, which sells vintage clothes that are currently all the rage right now in the fashion industry. Both businesses are priced quite competitively, and I’d say they’re worth more than the casual glance.
Even though Contra has been around as a storefront since 2017, they’re still going through changes. The coffee and tea shop recently decided to expand their hours from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday thru Saturday to 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and they did the same for Sundays, going from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to 9 a.m.-7 p.m. That leaves more time for people to stop by and grab a cup. Since it’s so close to Chapman University, most students choose to spend their time there to do any extra homework they can’t do at home. Students sitting here range from tomorrow’s doctors to tomorrow’s directors and screenwriters. With Chapman being the #4 film school in the nation, you could very well run into the next Spielberg, Wachowski, or Singleton.
Sometimes, Contra even hosts musicians. As a matter of fact, there have been several performances there. One of my friends, Tobey Lynn, has done a few performances here with her boyfriend, and she likened it to performing for NPR’s Tiny Desk.
There’s something for everyone at Contra’s. That said, I really think you should all check this place out! Otherwise, you’d be doing yourself a big disservice.