The Inkwell Coffeehouse, a Long Branch institution known for its live music, open mic nights and Dutch coffee, has reportedly closed.
The announcement was made via social media. The owner could not immediately be reached for comment.
“The Inkwell has a been a Long Branch staple since the 60’s. Home to our committed staff and our huge family of regulars,” reads the most recent post on the Inkwell’s Instagram page. “This is why it saddens us to say the good times have come to an end. We want to thank everyone for all the love and support over the years.”
Countless fans responded to the post, clearly heartbroken and imploring the business to stay open. One fan even said they would pay their rent in order to not lose the beloved establishment.
Another said this was “the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”
“Is there anything we can do?” asked another. “A gofundme or something? This can’t be the end.”
“This is where me and my best friend went and hung out for the first time,” another fan wrote, “my go-to for the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, where I went with loved ones on multiple occasions … it hurts but I’m glad I came in a month or two ago, now realizing for the last time. Goodbye Inkwell, your memory will carry on.”
The roots of the Inkwell go back to the former Expresso House in the Lincoln Hotel on Kingsley in Asbury Park. It was owned in the 1960s by Joe Distasio, who opened the Inkwell at Second and Brighton in Long Branch in 1965. It later moved to its current location, 665 Second Ave.
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It was a popular, casual late-night spot, with pop art merging with found art among its multiple rooms.
“We had to make it a destination,” owner Anthony Esposito told The Asbury Park Press in 2016. “Let’s go the Inkwell. We have a good energy here, everybody’s happy. I let the kids there dress the way they want to dress, no corporate attire. I want them to express themselves.
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Esposito was part of the team that took over in 2001 when the Inkwell was down on it’s luck.
“We went in and cleaned it up and reopened it,” he said. “It was definitely rough. We brought back some of the original staff who taught us the ropes.”
In 2017, the Asbury Park Press named Inkwell one of the best places in the area for hot chocolate.
“A lot of people come here for the vibe,” said Head Waitress Samantha Seda to the Asbury Park Press in 2017. “We have loud music and cool decorations, and we’re only open at night. People when they come say it’s an experience.”
Asbury Park Press reporter Alex Biese contributed to this story.