Are you looking for a place with great food, great coffee, and the perfect space to indulge your inner geek? In this episode of Hella Smart, I’m going to take you to Characterz Café right here in Pleasanton. We’ll chat with owner Crystal Diamond to learn all about her unique coffee shop and the fun things they offer.

The Beginning Of Characterz Café

Characterz Cafe is located here in Pleasanton, California on Sunol Boulevard. The café began as a love project created by Crystal with her business partner and best friend Mike Petrak. They’ve been in their current location for six years now, creating a space where people can come with their entire family to play games, have great coffee, and enjoy delicious food. It’s an amazing place for all ages to enjoy.

Crystal’s theme of gaming, comic books, and sci-fi fantasy comes from one word: nerd. She and her business partner and best friends are nerds. When the pair were playing games and getting coffee with three of their older kids, they’d make so much noise that Crystal and Mike would get uncomfortable. The business duo decided to bring together their collection of games and knowledge as coffee roasters to create a unique coffee shop experience.

Their labor of love includes customers that have become friends, adding their input to a collection of things that began 10 years ago. Characterz Café is now a safe place for all the people who were secretly playing dungeons and dragons, gaming, and wanting to argue about Star Wars. It’s become their place to go and revel in their geekiness while having coffee and some yummy food.

Beautiful Local Artwork

Another unique thing about Characterz Café is the beautiful artwork that adorns the walls and includes everything from fantasy and comic books. Crystal and Mike have talented friends, including John and Grant Miller. The pair did the artwork on the coffee shop walls when they were doing the super edition of remodeling. It was a surprise to Crystal, who was floored by the awesomeness of it when she walked in.

There are more individual squares of art on the wall, including canvas paintings done by Characterz’s art class teacher, Stephanie. All of the fun and funky décor create the perfect atmosphere for patrons to enjoy a game while sipping on a tasty drink.

Brews And Bites

Characterz Coffee Shop has a variety of coffee and cold drinks, many of which are sci-fi and fantasy-themed. Among their special beverage selection are a few Star Wars and Harry Potter-themed drinks. As Crystal tells me, they do have a super-secret menu—but it’s not so secret if you go on their Yelp or social media pages.

One example off the Star Wars menu is their signature Stormtrooper, an Oreo cookie blended drink that’s hands down one of the best. Customers can also choose vegetarian or vegan options with a variety of milk substitutes. And if you really want to get into the Star Wars spirit, you can ask for a cup of blue milk—or as you might know it, bantha milk. It can be made with any of their milk or milk substitutes and is both fun and delicious.

Another special drink is their BB-8 drink, aka the Orange Circle. This delicious beverage features white chocolate and orange whipped together, which will help you get you rolling if you add a shot of espresso in it. Characterz also features hot drinks, and you can even purchase cold brew by the bottle featuring their special blend. It’s just $13 for the first bottle and $10 for every refill. It’s a great option to take on a trip or have on hand at home when you can’t make it to the café.

Aside from their signature drinks, Characterz Café also has a delicious food menu. Their breakfast sandwich is the most popular item, a build-your-own option with a variety of choices. Whether you want a croissant with bacon and cheddar or a bagel with tomato and egg whites, you can make their sandwich your own. Lunchtime options are equally delicious, and you’ll find Mike’s secret sauce—a little spicy, a little garlicky—featured on their sandwiches. Their grilled cheese is another popular option, great to eat while playing games with friends.

Activities And Events

Characterz Café offers a variety of activities and events throughout the week. Every Tuesday night from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the café hosts an adult gaming night. Every Friday is a D&D night, where people can sign up for a game on Characterz’s social media pages.

Additionally, every first Saturday is an art day where you can learn to paint new stuff. The second Saturday of the month is a crafters fair, where customers can purchase unique gifts for themselves or their families. The third Saturday is live music with the Bay Area Academy of Music, and the fourth Saturday of the month is the café’s tournament play. Games rotate monthly, and those who sign up and win get their name on a trophy.

Come Geek Out At Characterz Café

I hope this gave you a good idea of all the great coffee, food, and fun you can have here at Characterz Café in Pleasanton. Be sure to stop by and grab a Star Wars-themed drink to sip on while you a game with friends and family. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more great local features. Stay tuned to the next episode of Hella Smart to see where we go next!