Catch a great cuppa joe at The Purple Fish

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer,

If you’re in the market for family fun and fellowship – and a great cup of coffee – you’re in luck, as Saint Matthew’s Church of Darlington invites you to The Purple Fish Coffee Company this coming Friday night.

The Purple Fish was initially conceived five years ago as a meeting space for the booming St. Matthew’s youth program. But after church members renovated the interior and the building was finished out by a contractor the space was so appealing that other ideas began to take root. In addition to using the space for their regular Wednesday night youth group meetings, church members decided to try something new.

“We thought about the need in Darlington for just a casual place where people could come have a cup of coffee, develop some friendships and enjoy fellowship,” said Julie Berly Ervin, Darlington resident and parishioner at Saint Matthew’s.

To make this happen, St. Matthew’s priest Hunter Jordan built a bar, tables, and benches, and several volunteers from Saint Matthew’s were trained as baristas, learning how to pull perfect espresso shots, steam milk, and whip up tasty lattes.

Then, during the first weekend of February, the Purple Fish had a sort of ‘soft opening’ as a coffee house. This well-received debut featured live music by Florence duo Far East Coast (Campbell Bridgeman and Eliya Osaki), free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and traditional coffee shop baked goods.

Inspired by that initial success, the Purple Fish will be open every Friday night in February from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and everyone is invited to drop in, partake in the free beverages and snacks, and enjoy some great music. These Friday night events are non-denominational, all ages are welcome (no alcohol is served or permitted), and the music is mostly secular.

If volunteer staffing can be arranged, future plans include opening The Purple Fish for regular daytime business hours so that downtown workers can drop by and buy coffee for their offices, or folks can walk over from the County Courthouse on break, relax on the couch and enjoy a snack while using the free wi-fi. Also, the church would like to offer the extra space at the rear of the building as a meeting area for use by the public.

“What we would like to do in the future is provide a meeting space for the community, for various groups that might like to use it…but we don’t have a schedule or firm plan for that yet. Right now, what’s firm and on go is the Friday nights in February,” said Ervin.

Those interested in checking out The Purple Fish Coffee Company are welcome to attend their next Friday night soiree. They are located at 110 West Hampton Street in Darlington – right across from the 25-foot model of the Eiffel Tower…but that’s another story.

Author: Duane Childers

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