Although the The White Whale Room opened softly in late February, it celebrated its launch this week by treating commuters at the Alameda light rail station to the ideal morning greeting: free coffee. The gesture was certainly appreciated, as commuters and residents of the Denizen apartment complex and surrounding neighborhood alike lined up for samples of Boxcar Coffee Roasters java. But lucky for them, the White Whale Room offers much more than just coffee and espresso. Rather than conforming to the traditional coffee shop mold, this new gathering space transitions seamlessly from day to night with an eclectic lineup of cocktails for the afternoon and evening hours.

While the coffee shop-meets-bar trend is nothing new (just look to Black Eye Cap Hill and the many Starbucks locations that are now hawking wine, beer, and small plates to attract the nighttime crowd), newcomer White Whale Room stands out for its stunning design and simple-yet-satisfying menu. The bright, nautical-themed space—complete with an abstract black-and-white tentacle mural, eye-catching copper chairs, and quirky benches shaped like whale bones—is sleek yet welcoming. It’s an ideal spot for working on your laptop while sipping a cortado or meeting up with friends for happy hour (in which case, we recommend the El Diablo cocktail, a refreshing combination of tequila, blackberry, and ginger beer).

As a complement to the drinks, the White Whale Room also dishes out a small lineup of sandwiches and salads all day. For a tasty and healthy grab-and-go lunch, opt for the grain salad, a blend of hearty quinoa, sweet potato, tangy feta, quick-pickled onions, and pepitas with a cumin-yogurt dressing.

To celebrate its first few days in the neighborhood, White Whale is hosting an opening party tonight (Thursday, March 10). Drop by between 6 and 10 p.m. to check out the quirky wall art, try a signature “whistle wetter,” and enjoy some vinyl tunes.

415 S. Cherokee St., 720-346-3996