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Activist-Driven Refuge Coffee Swings Open in Sweet Auburn’s Atlanta Daily World Building

It’s the second location for the Clarkston-based coffee shop

Refuge Coffee/Facebook
Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

The second location of Clarkston-based Refuge Coffee Co. opens today inside the historic Atlanta Daily World building on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. The activist-driven coffee shop provides job training and opportunities for Clarkston’s refugee community. It replaces Condesa Coffee at the building, which closed at the end of December.

Owners Kitti Murray and Bill Murray say they plan to continue offering a “safe, multi-ethnic space void of agenda” for Atlanta’s refugee community. This includes providing jobs and job training and hosting clothing drives, food pop-ups, and fundraisers at the new Sweet Auburn shop.

“We’re thrilled to be moving into Sweet Auburn, an area that has a vast history regarding social and civic justice, and the struggles so many people face in finding a sense of home within a broader community from which they may be marginalized,” Kitti Murray said in November.

The coffee shop includes seats inside between eight tables and two bars with chairs and a small outdoor seating area on the front sidewalk.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Friday, February 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring live music, free coffee, an Ethiopian coffee ceremony led by Fret Teklu, and a chai making demonstration from Leon Shombana.

A shot looking toward the brick, two-story Atlanta Daily World building on Auburn Avenue
The Atlanta Daily World Building
Gene Kansas
A photo from inside Refuge Coffee in Sweet Auburn looking toward Atlanta Insurance Co. building with photos of distinguished company founders on the windows Tom Griscom

Since opening five years ago, the Murrays have served thousands of customers from over 80 countries at their Clarkston coffee shop. The small city just east of Atlanta has been deemed by some as “the most diverse square mile in America.”

Refuge Coffee resides on the ground floor of the historic Sweet Auburn building once home to the city’s oldest and continually operating African-American newspaper, Atlanta Daily World, founded by Morehouse College graduate William Alexander Scott II in 1928. The paper has since moved to Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. The building is across the street from the former headquarters for Atlanta Life Insurance Company, founded in 1905 by African American businessman and millionaire Alonzo Herndon.

Refuge Coffee’s Clarkston shop features two food trucks parked outside a converted 1960s service station with seating inside and on the covered patio.

Update, February 3, 11:30 a.m.: This story has been updated to include information on the grand opening celebration.

Sweet Auburn open Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Clarkston open Monday - Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

145 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta.

Condesa Coffee

480 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue Northeast, , GA 30312 (404) 524-5054 Visit Website

Refuge Coffee Co.

4170 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, , GA 30021 (470) 518-4614 Visit Website