Featured photo: The aesthetic of Crimson Hollow Coffee House matches the interior of owner Killian Eubanks’ own house. “I’ve always enjoyed the Castlevania-type thing,” he says. “In high school, I would have loved this place.” (photo by Sayaka Matsuoka)
All black everything.
Even though the name of the business is Crimson Hollow Coffee House, black is more the vibe.
“In North Carolina, you can’t find anything black,” says owner Killian Eubanks, who opened the new Victorian, gothic-themed coffee shop in Winston-Salem about a month ago. “I had to special order so many things.”
For example, the black coffee mugs that customers drink out of? Those took two months for Eubanks to find. The velvet black chairs had to be custom ordered. The black ceiling paint was another issue.
“They don’t make black ceiling paint at Lowe’s,” Eubanks says. “So we had to have it specially made and we had so much made that they now sell it at Lowe’s.”
The idea came to Eubanks last October when he was watching Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. Eubanks, who has always had an affinity for everything gothic, thought to himself, How cool would it be to have a coffee shop named after this movie?
Now he doesn’t have to wonder.
Marble-topped tables, a giant 9-foot mirror, velvet-covered chairs and ornate rugs fill the 4,000-square foot space located on W. 4th Street in downtown Winston-Salem next to cyclebar. The aesthetic, Eubanks says, matches his own home’s.
“I’ve always enjoyed the Castlevania-type thing,” he says. “In high school, I would have loved this place.”
Ties to that style are rooted in Eubanks’ ancestry, which goes back to Ireland. Speaking with a very faint Irish tinge to the end of his words, Eubanks says he liked to conjure up the baroque castles of his ancestor’s land and imagine himself in them.
“I love that cobblestone, overgrown look,” he says.
As he grew older, he got into the metal scene and gravitated towards darker, deeper colors.
“I was one of those angsty teenagers,” he says. “I loved that dark, creepy kind of thing. You grew up loving the vampire lore and whatever else made us edgy.”
According to Eubanks, Crimson Hollow is one of the few Victorian gothic coffee shops in the United States. A quick search on Google yields other similar businesses in California and Chicago, but Crimson Hollow appears to be the first one in North Carolina.
And that’s been drawing customers into the space.
“People love how different it is,” Eubanks says. “That’s why the Biltmore is so famous; you don’t see that antique aesthetic anymore.”
But not everybody has been as receptive.
“Some people come in and say it’s not a good space,” he says. “They’ll say, ‘It’s for weird people.’ But that’s totally fine; it wasn’t made for them.”
In addition to the unique space, Eubanks says he paid particular attention to the quality of the machines and ingredients the shop uses for its drinks. As a former barista who worked in other coffee shops for about six years, Eubanks says that he wants to stand out in terms of coffee quality, too. That means using more expensive syrups, buying locally roasted coffee from Loom and investing in an Italian espresso machine.
“We wanted the place to look great but the quality to be good, too,” he says.
Despite only having been open for a month, the shop has already hosted multiple events including weekly offerings like a game night, complete with tavern music, vendor days to showcase local artists, rotating movie nights and open-mic nights on Fridays. For their grand opening, they hosted a Victorian ball, something they’d like to do again soon.
The shop also lets artists sell their works on consignment, charging a 10-percent fee.
Eubanks, who says he doesn’t drink that much anymore, says he wants the coffeeshop to feel like somewhere people can go to experience events without having to resort to a brewery.
“We want to get people out of the house again, especially after Covid,” he says.
Part of the large space includes a mezzanine area that groups can rent out. So far, the section has hosted a birthday party, a bridal party and a transgender support group.
“We really want to push the community aspect,” he says.
Other plans include a tattoo night where visitors can get quick flash tattoos and live events like drag shows. He even hopes to do a Renaissance night and an alternative prom so people can wear their outfits more than just once.
“I just want more events where anyone in any age range can come enjoy and meet like-minded and open-minded people,” Eubanks says. “We want to do stuff that nowhere else is doing.”
Learn more about Crimson Hollow Coffee House by following them on Instagram at @crimsonhollowcoffeehouse.
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