Hide+Seek serves more than coffee

Knitting, pop-up galleries mark evenings on The Ave

Jesse and Jaime Owens aim to make Oak Bay Avenue Hide + Seek Coffee like welcoming guests into their home.

Intimate and welcoming are the goals for café owners Jesse and Jamie Owens.

Hide + Seek Coffee opened eight months ago and seems to slide right into the coffee shop scene on The Avenue.

“It seems people have space in their hearts for another café (in Oak Bay),” Jaime said.

A turntable behind the counter surprises some first-time customers. Not always in use, it does have quite the selection of music.

“I’ve been collecting a long time,” Jesse said. He designed the cabinets to hold the alphabetized vinyl.

“We’re both big music fans and wanted a place to listen to our music all day,” Jesse said.

It’s just one way the couple showcases a little of who they are in their business.

“We wanted a space people felt welcome and unpretentious as possible,” Jamie said.

“We wanted it to look … well basically this is our dream house,” she said with a laugh. “When you put your personality and feel and love into a space it’s going to be welcoming.”

According to knitting instructor Patricia Hart of Woolings, they’ve achieved that goal. Hart teaches knitting courses at Monterey centre, Button and Needlework Boutique in Victoria and now Hide + Seek some evenings.

“We got to talking and thought it would be nice to carry classes through the summer,” Hart said.

“It’s a really beautiful space and has a really, really lovely energy about it,” Hart said. “I think everybody feels very welcome. There’s a very welcoming atmosphere about it.”

The couple inadvertently scheduled themselves to work Wednesdays that weren’t street market nights and figured, with a babysitter in place, why not fill the slots? They wanted to add events to serve the community, including after-hours pop-up galleries and knitting sessions.

“We have the ability, because we’re owners, to come in and do things in the evening,” Jamie said. “It’s nice to provide something for people in a space that’s a little different.”

The first pop-up gallery included artists sourced from the community and turned out to be a hit evening at the shop. “There were a lot of people, and a lot of vendors said they had a great time,” Jamie said.

“It all came together. It was so well received,” Jesse added. “It was completely full the whole time.”

They plan to hold another the first Wednesday of August.

Hide + Seek staffers serve to the table for those sticking around for a little coffee and music and the single-serve, drip coffee has its own tale.

Jesse learned the trade at Caffé Fantastico in Victoria and opted for a “fresh sheet,” a rotating roster of local roaster coffees.

“It’s shocking how many local roasters there are,” Jesse said. His preferred method of selection is to simply ask the roasters themselves: what are you proud of today? “It allows people to showcase what they’re most excited about and it’s fun for us.”

Most baking is done in the small kitchen in the back, the exception being Empire Donuts delivered regularly. In the works since opening, they now boast house-made syrups, jams and almond milk.

“That was a goal from when we opened,” Jesse said. “It’s nice to be able to control the quality.”