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NIGHT SHIFT : Nove Awakens Urban Beatniks to the North County Scene

August 26, 1993|ROSE APODACA | Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition

To those of you hipsters who are skeptical that there's anything worth visiting in North County, you're advised (strongly) to stop by Nove in Anaheim, a coffeehouse that's challenging the coast's corner on cool places to socialize.

This strip mall coffeehouse (it's name means "nine" in Italian) has been open more than a year but has seen some dramatic changes in the past eight months, since original owner Fred Pecora brought in a partner by the name of Satoru. Besides introducing nightly live performances, musician Satoru has installed regular art shows and a decor that's funky-baroque- meets-urban-beatnik.

Heavy ruby velvet drapes hang from the 12-foot high windows, doubling as a sound buffer to the outside world when local alternative bands play on the cozy sliver of a box stage. On a tall book shelf, also wrapped in ruby velvet and trimmed with gold fringe, sit hard-bound classics and coffee table favorites: a Da Vinci bio, "The Guinness Book of World Records," "Linda Goodman's Love Signs," . . . Among the more interesting features are the lamps, a collection of hideously colored glass fixtures from the late '60s and '70s. Balls, cylinders and assorted odd shapes in green, brown, red and orange glass lend a warm glow to the place. Modern track lighting spotlights the art on the walls.

While the tiny, round, colorfully painted tables are something to look at, check out the repro of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on the way to the water closet and the picturesque scene on the cold box (filled, by the way, with Evian, $1.50 and $2.50; Snapple, $1.50; Sasparilla, $1.75; ginger and spiced apple brew, $2; and long necks of Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew for $2.25).

Generation X patrons, who make up the majority of the clientele, sip their coffee drinks on velvet and brocade upholstered couches and big daddy chairs. Employees have affectionately dubbed the place the "island of misfit toys" because of the crowd. Militant vegetarians, nouveau punk rockers, tortured artists and other normal, misunderstood teens and twentysomethings flock to Nove for comfort, caffeine and the occasional bowl of Cap'n Crunch or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

No shocker that one of the most popular evenings is Expression Session Monday--a sort of "group therapy," says Kevin Knight, 20, the coffeehouse's promoter. Patrons can recite poetry or spew out anything else they've been mentally digesting. "It's like a protest once a week," Knight says.

The freedom to express continues Wednesday with open-mike night, a segment dominated mostly by frustrated folkies with six-strings. But anything goes on this night--from spoken words to songs a cappella.

The place usually gets mellow on Sunday, when an unplugged format takes over. From Thursday through Saturday, however, the in-house PA system (yes, they have one) turns up the volume on the various bands and solo acts that take the stage--including the aforementioned Satoru, a regular fixture with his guitar on Thursdays. Unfortunately, a small upright near the stage stays silent most of the time.

So what about the coffee? This is a hang, after all, that sells its own signature Tee with the banner "Coffee or Die" under a logo inspired by the Harley-Davidson wings.

Coffee of the day sells for $1 and $1.50; espresso, $1.50; iced coffee, $1.10; and caffe Americano, $1.60. There are specialties such as the Red Eye, a drip coffee with espresso, for $1.75 and $2.75; the Funky Monkey, a concoction of espresso, chocolate, banana and milk blended with ice and topped with whipped cream for $3.25; the house mocha frappe, made of chocolate milk and espresso topped with whipped cream, $3.10; and caffe mocha at $2.85 with chocolate shavings, $3.10 with mocha or almond.

Caffeine alternatives are the vanilla steamer ($2), hot apple cider ($1.25) and a smoothie of pineapple juice, banana, orange, honey, milk and ice ($3.35). Teas include jasmine, ginseng and a medicinal smokers blend for $1.25 a cup.

*

For those of you who live by the "I'll sleep when I'm dead" maxim, Nove will host "Insomniathon" on Sept. 25 and 26 to benefit CHOC. The coffeehouse hopes to make history by earning a place in the "Guinness Book of World Records" with 24 bands in 24 hours--a feat that has never been attempted, say organizers.

* NOVE

* 3474 E. Orangethorpe, Anaheim.

* (714) 996-2120.

* Open Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to midnight.

* No cover.

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