Aqus Café at Foundry Wharf Builds Unique Brand as Multi-generational Hot Spot
of Southern Sonoma County’s Vibrant Cultural Scene
The bustling scene on a regular weekday morning at Aqus Café at Foundry Wharf might appear to the first time visitor as one not unlike any other popular West Coast coffee shop. Customers at almost every table are immersed in the content of open laptops, their headphones enabling these growing ranks of independent workers to share a slice of real time with conversational groups of community-minded seniors, gaggles of lively teens, technicians, mechanics, hair stylists on break and mid-day meetings of moms with toddlers in tow.
Yet if you sit awhile with your bowl of organic soy latte, steaming mug of exotic herbal tea, it won’t take you long to absorb the extraordinary atmosphere that makes Aqus Café the region’s most talked-about hot spot of modern social capital. It’s a place where old and young, entrepreneurs and retirees, artists, musicians and chief instigators of dense community circles intermingle in a steady and returning stream from dawn ‘til after dusk for regular solid connections above and beyond the chatter of today’s social media networks.
Traditional conversation aside, a deeply held ambition of the Aqus concept partners since 2006 was to bring the community together in a comfortable, welcoming, art-filled space for the mutual benefit of developing a social environment that fosters both a sense of belonging and a cumulative flowering of community spirit.
“Where else can a multi-generational tangle of grandparents, parents, teenagers and toddlers listen to outstanding live music in the area?” asks the café’s partner and chief social experimenter, John Crowley. “It’s quite the scene in Sonoma County and absolutely the place to be after work for a glass of wine or a pint of beer.” Both of John son’s Kian and Jeremy Crowley have both worked in the cafe.
Aqus Café serves as anchor: part social and cultural center, part café, part European-style pub. Partner and general manager, Lesley McCullaugh’s Trivia nights are the south county’s ‘battle of the brains’ and a major draw for dozens of intrepid teams, every third Thursday evening of the month.
Grab a monthly events’ schedule off the counter in Aqus and take a pew to peruse the myriad options, under the shade of a red umbrella outside on the flower-filled deck. There’s something for everyone.
When you step into the cafe you’ll see great art provided by local artists, rotated on a regular basis.
Curator, Jennifer Tatum, maintains the continually array of everything from children’s art to community art projects and professional regional artists.
To submit your artwork, please click here to give us your information.
Don’t think for a minute that this English born and bred empress of Aqus Café’s busy counter isn’t in complete control of operations and management during weekday hustle and bustle of Petaluma’s most popular coffee house. Lesley’s illustrious career in fine dining and restaurant expertise dates back to her well-spent teens at the four-star Midland Hotel, Manchester. It is this Lancashire’s lass’s impeccable attention to detail that sets Aqus Café apart from competitors in consistent quality, order and efficiency. Lesley’s your point person for most all enquiries into Aqus Café operational business affairs as well as the brains behind full-house Trivia night, every third Thursday.
Not only is fellow Irish-American, Michael, Mr. Fix-It and Chief Problem Solver at Aqus, anyone doing business with the Café will know him as Chief Negotiator. Michael brings an illustrious lifetime career in the restaurant and bar industry to the artfully streamlined operations of busy Aqus Café. His menu has been carefully developed to accommodate a wide variety of dietary requirements, while maintaining the Café’s reputation for tasty staples from breakfast through lunch and casual dinners. A self-confessed fountain of youth, Michael is often to be found working the crowd with his inimitable charm after a 20-mile loop of the West Country by road bike. As wine buyer for Aqus, Michael’s select picks represent some of the best deals in Petaluma for fine wine by the glass.
If Irish eyes are smiling, as in the 1912 classic ‘The Isle O’Dreams’, John certainly is the green-eyed boy to recreate innate social ambitions derived from his grandfather’s pub in Dublin. “I set out to create a nice place for people to hang out,” says John, whose authentic vision for a multi-generational utopian bonding space in which he could happily hang out at with like-minded friends and neighbors in Petaluma, birthed the evolution of the Aqus concept. John is chief social instigator, champion connection-maker and a regular fixture at the counter throughout the day. John’s sons Kian and Jeremy Crowley take after his father in their appreciation and fostering of community.
Not being one for the limelight, Diane is always working in the background to support the programs and activities that keep the cafe abuzz. As a co-founder in Aqus Community, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Diane spends the majority of her time building community both in and beyond the cafe walls.
INFO FOR BANDS PLAYING AT AQUS CAFE
Music is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday Nights. 7 – 9pm
Sunday afternoon Jazz 2 – 4:30
– If you are interested in playing at the cafe please give us your information:
Musician’s Information Form
– Sign up to get our eblasts at https://aqus.com/signup/
– Friend us on FaceBook facebook.com/aquscafe
– All shows are free the the public and all ages.
– Groups usually show up about an hour ahead of time to set up
– It’s a good idea for the musicians to organize someone to pass the tip jar around.
– Dave Brouillette handles all bookings.
– ALL booking is done online using this form.
There are also a lot of other great locations in Petaluma, well-known for great live music:
Our Cafe is in a residential neighborhood so we ask our customer and performers not to hang out too long outside after hours…we need to keep our music license.
Artists are asked to keep the volume below 90db. Our aim for the music in the cafe is to keep it at a level where people can still have a conversation while the music is playing. We are not a club or concert hall. Thanks for your understanding.
This is extremely important at Aqus as we have residential neighbors. THEY ARE OUR PRIME CONCERN. Please don’t make us ask you to turn down. It’s a small/loud room, be courteous to or neighbors and our patrons. The Aqus employee is ALWAYS right. If we ask you to turn down, you are too loud. We cannot have music that we believe is too loud. Keep the volume down and help us keep our doors open as one of the coolest places around for live music. Only original music.
Aqus provides a professional-level PA system with up to 4 inputs for instruments and microphones. The system is tuned to the house, so bands are highly encouraged to use the installed PA system. You will have to bring your own microphones, stands and cables. If you want to use the house system it is important that you familiarize yourself with it before hand.
Aqus does not have a “sound person” to administer the PA, so bands need to have someone who understands and can balance the sound.
Our house mixer is a Yamaha EMX 620