Shuttered Coffee Shop City Lights Will Reopen New and Improved in Charleston’s Eastside

The new iteration of the café will expand past coffee to offer beer, wine, and brunch options.
City Lights Eastside rendering
City Lights Eastside, coming this November, is a reimagining of City Lights Coffee which closed in 2021. Photo: Courtesy Candace Patterson

A local favorite coffee shop, City Lights Coffee, will be revived this fall on Line Street in the East Side. The original location on Market Street shuttered in August 2021 after 15 years.

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The new location at 12 Line Street will honor the old shop with the repurposing of its marble bar, bench seats and tin-plate ceiling, but business partners Candace Patterson and Gregg Lambton-Carr also have some new elements in store.

For starters, the new café is twice the size of the original at 1,000 square feet, and will feature a larger-scale kitchen and patio. Lambton-Carr will manage the back-of-house operations as they serve up coffeehouse classics as well as curries and hand pies inspired by his native South Africa. Patterson will manage front-of-house operations, expanding their hours and drink selection to support nightlife with a beer and wine menu and happy hour.

They’ll also shed the old name of City Lights Coffee, now becoming known as City Lights Eastside, a name that encompasses their new identity as not just a coffee shop but a neighborhood café.

Patterson shared with What Now Charleston that the café will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and mimosas, then close and reopen from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (9 on weekdays) for beer, wine and nighttime coffee. They also plan to host live music on the new patio.

Patterson says they chose the location because of the building’s history. Vacant since 1998, the corner building at Line and Hanover was previously a community keystone for nearly 100 years, cycling through lives as a corner store, candy shop, billiards hall, and restaurant.

“The idea of reviving a commercial space that hasn’t been there for 25 years was really exciting,” said Patterson. “I’m excited for the neighborhood to have an additional space. Neighborhoods need places for people to gather. Being a third place or a community gathering place is probably the most important thing to me.”

The building is currently undergoing extensive renovations, but Patterson tells What Now Charleston that they are on track to open by late November or early December of 2023.

Shelby Bock

Shelby Bock

Shelby Bock is a writer based in Savannah, Georgia. A Georgia State University alumnus, she has a background in copywriting and marketing content strategy for a variety of brands.
Shelby Bock

Shelby Bock

Shelby Bock is a writer based in Savannah, Georgia. A Georgia State University alumnus, she has a background in copywriting and marketing content strategy for a variety of brands.
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