Barney: Finding the Right Cafe


Sarah Karr

Owner of Sunset Coffee Shelby Coleman interacts with her customers while making their drinks in Sandy, Utah on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Sarah Karr | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sebastian Barney, Opinion Writer


Since 2020, I’ve been entrenched in the hobby of downhill longboarding. It’s a great way to both relax and get exercise, especially in the summer. A ritualistic habit has emerged from this obsession: after spending a few hours skating with friends, I’ll typically end the night at Sunset Coffee. I’ve found that after bombing down some hills and experiencing the rush of the warm air on my skin, a nice cold drink and a few rounds of chess make the night feel more satisfactory. But really, it’s not about the chess, drink or activity; it’s about the good vibes that Sunset Coffee maintains.

The staff will always greet you in a way that feels genuine. There are always kind words shared without the veil of a customer service interaction. Even something as basic as ordering a drink feels like talking to a friend that has your best interests at heart. Every time you share details about yourself, you can expect genuine interest without being patronized. Every encounter feels unique and the staff will perfectly reciprocate your energy. The customer service can only be summarized as immaculate.

If you decide to spend an afternoon here, you’ll likely see a variety of people. However, they’re all here for the same reason. Whether to play chess or to show off a car, Sunset Coffee has a vibrant community that enjoys the business and often hosts various events. Ranging from chess tournaments to weekly car meets, they are always welcoming of newcomers. They also have a great track record in collaborating with local businesses, such as local construction companies and tattoo parlors. Even their bathrooms have a community feel with their chalkboard-lined walls — which gives further expression to the community aspect of the business.

As students, we are also frequently attending the full-time job that school entails. Sunset is a great place to study. For some of us, working in public can feel unnatural. The awkwardness of studying in public is instantly removed since everyone else is doing the same. Their Wi-Fi makes doing all of this quite easy.

Personally, I’m not much of a coffee drinker — I prefer to get my kidney stones from energy drinks. Whether it’s a nice, warm London Fog or an icy strawberry kiwi lemonade, the menu is a testament to their commitment to satisfying a wide range of preferences. With an extensive selection of beverages, from their expertly crafted coffee concoctions to their delightful tea blends and refreshing fruit-infused drinks, Sunset Coffee have a vast menu with something for everyone.

The unique ambiance of this establishment is exemplified by the carefully curated music selection playing in the background. A mix of alternative music often plays, ranging from iconic bands like Green Day and Rage Against the Machine to lesser-known indie artists. The tunes resonate with the rebellious spirit and authenticity that the alternative genre is known for, further reinforcing the unique and welcoming environment of the cafe.

Sunset Coffee also offers a range of unique merchandise which are perfect for cozying up or representing the cafe with pride when out and about. These items, such as unique hoodies, often feature the Sunset Coffee logo and come in various colors and designs. This reinforces their inclusive catering to a variety of personal styles and preferences. They’ve also included  lighters and other knickknacks repping their logo. To top it all off, they have a sticker machine full of custom prints from local businesses.

I haven’t been to a cafe quite like Sunset. There are places all around the world where I could play chess, order a drink or just hang out. I’ve met plenty of people from different backgrounds and age groups who’ve spent time there. However, I’ve never met anyone who’s had a negative experience. One of the most striking aspects of this beloved establishment is the consistency in the positive experiences people share. Whenever I mention Sunset Coffee, the typical response is, “I love Sunset, I didn’t realize you go there, too!” This universal appreciation speaks volumes about the cafe’s ability to create a genuinely welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere that resonates with all patrons.

In a world where impersonal transactions and automated services are increasingly common, Sunset Coffee stands out as a beacon of exceptional customer service and genuine human connection. It is a place where you can not only enjoy a delicious drink, but also feel comfortable spending time with friends. More than anything, Sunset is a welcoming community of wonderful and welcoming people.


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