Saffron Cafe, one of Brown College’s long-standing traditions, has made a return to Brown College this semester after a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saffron Cafe opened in the fall of 2015. Chris Aukstikalnis and other Brown residents wished to utilize the then-vacant space as a social and academic hub where students would feel safe and welcome. After extensive renovations, Saffron Cafe was open to the public.
“The purpose of Saffron Cafe is to keep [a sense of] community in Brown when you are having nights of loneliness,” said Francisca Swinson, a fourth-year Government and English double major who works as head manager of Saffron Cafe. “In Brown, we all get busy, but [Saffron Cafe] is a stable thing you can go to all the time and just have fun.”
Swinson, together with three other managers, is in charge of the daily preparations of the cafe space. This includes making gluten-free and vegan baked goods for patrons and selecting hot beverages to be served each night. The staff is dedicated to creating an inviting atmosphere where students feel at ease and are able to socialize freely.
Coffee, tea, and desserts are served throughout the night. Saffron Cafe not only offers traditional beverages, but also hot chocolate, apple cider, or root beer on specialty nights.
The cafe also hosts themed nights in the evening, from craft events including friendship bracelet making and painting to trivia nights where students can engage in a round of Jeopardy.
“It’s a nice atmosphere,” said Gideon French, a third-year resident of Brown College, citing the opportunity to work with other people and strike up a conversation as reasons to frequent the cafe.
Hosted in Brown College on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays from 8 PM-12 AM, this space offers a relaxing cafe environment where both Brown College residents and other UVA students can come to study, do homework, and hang out in their free time.