We're guessing Christopher Webb and Victoria Foulger weren't using their library voices yesterday when a unanimous decision from council awarded their Herring Cove treasure, Pavia Gallery - Espresso Bar & Cafe (997 Herring Cove Road), the tender to be the new almighty library's onsite cafe.
For the past three years Pavia's been a sweet spot for contemporary and local fine art, Italian espresso, baked goods and light lunches. After bidding on the library tender on the recommendation of some regulars the Euro-style spot beat out Second Cup and Uncommon Grounds to set up not one, but two locations in the Halifax Central Library.
“You see a lot of downtown businesses expand outwards, this is interesting because we're moving into downtown,” says Webb of the announcement. “From the beginning we wanted to be special regardless of where we were. We wanted quality to be good regardless, we wanted the difference to be worth the distance.”
Webb says the library Pavias will zero in on the espresso and snacks side of the business, leaving Herring Cove as the hub for art. The satellite cafes will even open up the potential for an expansion of the gallery over the next couple of years.
Setting up shop in the Central Library also means almost tripling Pavia's staff, expanding on the charity giving the team already does and having big, beautiful venue to host its regular artist panel discussions.
“We've been doing this for three years every day. You say to your friends ‘we’re going to open this cool European espresso bar and art gallery in Herring Cove’...you can imagine what they said,” laughs Webb. “This is an affirmation of it. We’ve been really embraced by people, and not a particular kind of person.”