La Casa de la Nueve, situated on 9th street in downtown Tijuana, is no more. On November 6, the coffeehouse and live-music venue was demolished, much to the surprise of its previous tenants.
Married couple Margarita González and Jason Guevara rented the space in 2003 with the intent to promote art and great coffee. Margarita handled the events and promotions, Jason worked the kitchen.
In 2011, González and Guevara split up. Guevara was left with the coffeehouse and González moved on to other opportunities as an event promoter. Facing financial problems that Jason could not solve by himself, La Casa closed its doors in October.
“There was a lot of pressure from the owners,” says González. “They changed the contract from pesos to dollars, they kept pressuring us to get out. They told my ex-husband that they would take the house somewhere else, never mentioned anything about demolishing. It took us all by surprise to see it torn to bits.
“Supposedly, [the owners] were going to move the house somewhere else. The house came from the U.S.A. and it was a gift to the original owner. I even found a calendar from 1943 inside. That house had a lot of history and it was part of the identity of Tijuana.”
The building’s exterior was painted by different artists over the years, so the walls changed from brightly colored murals to dinosaurs, portraits, and more.
Countless high schoolers on dates came to see young local bands play their first show and to see established bands from the U.S. Orange County grindcore band Phobia played there in 2005. Caustic Christ, Tristeza, Pulling Teeth, Die Young, and many other similar bands had the opportunity to grace the rooms in La Casa de la Nueve.
It is not yet known what will fill the empty space — most likely another Oxxo (a Mexican convenience-store chain like 7-Eleven) or another money-exchange booth.
A few other coffee shops have gained the clientele that used to frequent La Casa. Artists and students in the downtown area have gravitated toward El Grafrogo, situated next to Mamut in Pasaje Rodríguez. The shop also sells books in the art hallway between 3rd and 4th.
Cinemático, situated between 6th and 7th on Avenída Madero, is a coffee shop/cinema that hosts poetry slams and movie nights featuring indie and classic films.
Café Diógenes, a bookstore, internet café, and cultural center, is situated next to Tijuana's city hall. Musicians frequent the spot, which features acoustic guitars for anyone to play in its many rooms.