THE USUAL CROWD wasn’t sitting in the sunshine this afternoon in front of Royal Ground, the neighborhood’s oldest coffeehouse. “The coffee shop for locals,” as it was known, ended its 25-year run Sunday as the final notes of the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival were drifting away in the late afternoon light.
Ibrahim Alhjat, Royal Ground’s genial owner for the last 10 years, said his 98-year-old landlord, David Kaplan, raised his rent from $16,500 to $25,000 per month.
“I just couldn’t do it,” he said. So after a closing wake with friends and family on Sunday night, on Monday morning he set about ripping out the fixtures and furnishings of the coffee shop and the Wash ‘n’ Royal laundromat next door.
A year ago, when Royal Ground was renovated ever so slightly and beer and wine were added to its offerings, a writer noted: “With a little luck, Royal Ground will remain an island of funk and friendliness in the neighborhood’s sea of stylish storefronts.”
The luck and the funkiness — and one of the final outposts of the old Fillmore flavor — ended on July 7, 2013.
EARLIER: “A coffee shop for locals“