The Motley Coffeehouse: Where I Spent the Last of my Flex

Motley Coffeehouse Cats
Fierce baristas, from left to right, Izzy, Carmen, and Mary Lynn. (Photocred: Natasha Kraus SC ’15)

At what point does something become an obsession? That what I’m constantly wondering these days as I keep finding myself back at The Motley.

Like way too many others, I often put off the majority of my homework for Sunday nights. But after working for a couple hours, there’s no better way to take a break (or call it a night) than by going to the Motley at Scripps. Or even better, going to Snack at Frary, then The Motley.

It’s actually surprising that a lot of people don’t even know what the Motley IS! I’ve suggested to some friends, “Hey, wanna go to the Motley?” and have gotten responses varying from “The what?” to “Oh, that’s the place at Scripps, right?” Allow me to elucidate things for you.

Yes, the Motley, est. 1974, is the coffee shop located in Seal Court on Scripps Campus, right next to Malott, the Scripps Dining Hall. Being a coffee shop, the Motley, to no one’s surprise, has a variety of coffee beverages, teas, even smoothies and snacks. While some people like to try something new every single visit, I’m the type of person who gets the same thing every single time: a Bowl of Soul with chamomile tea. I’ve been trying to change that recently and go out of my comfort zone, but steamed soy milk, chamomile tea, and a sprinkle of cinnamon is my go-to bedtime beverage. I’ll occasionally get an iced latte with way too much espresso if I’m in need of a boost, or maybe hot apple cider if I want a different warm, bedtime beverage. And while I personally haven’t ventured to the very fruity section of the menu yet, a friend of mine has and was very content with her Orange Caesar.

On top of having great beverages, the Motley is also a great study space. Everyone has their own preference for what kind of environment to do work in. Personally, absolute silence makes me sleepy and too much noise distracts me. The Motley is perfect because it has just the right amount of ambient noise to keep me awake and focused (but caffeine also helps with that). The lounge area of the Motley, full of couches, tables, and chairs, is super cozy and welcoming, and there’s usually great music playing. Occasionally, there’s even live music, but usually, what’s playing is chosen by the baristas on duty, who are generally pretty cool people (with awesome taste in music). In fact, the baristas were recently trying to organize “themed shifts” (see depiction of cat theme above!), which, after a stressful evening of homework, put a smile on my face. I’ve also learned from my friend Izzy, the leftmost baristacat, that the baristas have their own events, which seems like a great way to meet new people, seeing as the Motley crew currently consists of 45 baristas and 8 managers. Overall, the Motley is an impressive establishment and the barista dynamic really contributes to the chill atmosphere.

Typical crowded Sunday night at the Motley (not shown: other sizable crowd behind me doing work)
Typical crowded Sunday night at the Motley. (not shown: other sizable crowd behind me doing work)

So it’s no wonder why I’m at the Motley all the time. And since Pomona’s meal plans include something called Board Plus (which everyone calls Flex), I always buy something with Flex whenever I’m there. Unfortunately though, I’ve gone from the $160 Flex dollars I began with to $1.23 in about two months. (Fun fact: my last Flex purchase was actually a pumpkin spice latte.) Of course I didn’t spend all my Flex on Motley drinks. I’ve had cheese pretzels at Jay’s Place, quesadillas at the Hub, chicken tenders at the Coop Fountain. With so many delicious eateries on campus, the freshman 15 can be pretty difficult to avoid. But without a doubt, the majority of my Flex money went toward Motley drinks. The baristas, all Scripps students, are great at recommending beverages and friendly chatting. My only complaint is that the Motley is extremely popular so they often run out of certain ingredients and are usually packed, especially on Sunday nights. But despite the crowds of people and the occasional shortages of ingredients, the Motley continues to be one of my favorite places on the 5Cs.

P.S. Below are a couple short clips of a performance I stumbled upon at the Motley one night! Singing with the performer in the first clip is Scripps Professor Martha Gonzalez!