The ambiance was more party than protest outside the Onyx Cafe in Silver Lake Saturday night.
"Make Coffee, Not War" read one sign carried proudly by a demonstrator sipping cappuccino, while another, tidily summing up the collective mood, advised, "Don't Be a Slug, Fred."
Fred is Fred Hicks, owner of the Vista Theatre, next door to the Bohemian coffeehouse. Hicks owns the master lease on the property, and has been making moves to evict the Onyx since last summer. Early last month, Hicks got serious. He pressed the eviction proceeding, filing an unlawful-detainer complaint against cafe owners Fumiko Robinson and John Leech.
In recent weeks, Leech and Robinson have been fighting back with a style as offbeat as their establishment.
More than 100 people crowded into the coffeehouse Saturday night, but it was almost impossible to discern who was protesting, who was playing (chess, checkers and guitars) and who was just there to sip some coffee.