Dovecote Cafe sits in the middle of the block in Reservoir Hill, surrounded by brownstones and jubilant neighbors. When you walk inside, the walls are covered in art, the aroma of fresh coffee and handcrafted food hits you in the nose and the feel-good music is always on shuffle. There is no feeling that you'll receive inside of Dovecote Cafe that you have not felt on the streets of Baltimore.
Cole, one of the owners, says the name--a reference to medieval bird houses as well as harmonious gathering places--"was reflective of the physical energy of the space but also the way we think about the space as a sanctuary."
Cole and wife Aisha Pew, whom Cole calls "the most brilliant woman I've ever met in my life," moved from California to Baltimore to build the cafe. They shared a vision "of stopping gentrification and having a conversation with young black folks about what does it mean to claim your city before it is taken from you," Cole says.
"We were hoping, building and dreaming on vibrant spaces where Black people can be free and engage with each other in new and imaginative ways."
Cole and Pew opened up an artist residency this year called "House of Sedulo," where six artists were chosen to stay at a house on the other side of the neighborhood rent-free. They have the opportunity to create, host events inside of the house, or the cafe, and are also able to make money while doing so.
In the past, I've visited Dovecote not only for its food and drinks and mesmerizing aesthetic, but also creative writing workshops and live performances, and to just be among the good vibes of the staff and customers.
The cafe is all about "reimagining Black possibilities," Cole says, and one way to bring that to fruition is by "creating space for our community to be together. To find spaces of Black joy, and connection. Ensuring that Black artists, makers and creatives have the room to build those spaces is so essential to our vision."