Samantha Argosino filming her Kickstarter video for The Brass Lamp.
All too often, the artist and the writer, the innovator and the budding entrepreneur are shooed away from their cluttered tables at coffeeshops as baristas close shop. Shuffling toward the exit, they do not want to go home to face another night alone but also do not necessarily want to socialize. They look longingly toward the entrance of a bar, wishing it wasn’t filled with extraordinarily loud music or people more focused on Tinder than creative conversation.
Samantha Argosino has felt this pang continually when, often finding herself wide awake at 11 while working or reading, wanting to be out—and working or reading. Not necessarily socialize but be around others, to be inspired, to people watch.
This is precisely why she is creating The Brass Lamp, what will soon become Long Beach’s first book bar.
“This bar is for writers, for creative thinkers, for people to be able to talk and get ideas going, to produce,” Argosino said. “Your typical bar doesn’t do that and coffeeshops are close but not there. I want the Brass Lamp to be the forum that creates good writing or cultivates creative conversation between two people.”
Think of the space as a buzzed coffeeshop: open early for the crowd that needs caffeine and open until 2AM for the night owls, Argosino plans on creating an environment that every writer or thinker has dreamed of having.
“The more I worked on the business plan, it made sense to expand into an all-day thing,” Argosino said. “
A certified fraud examiner by day, Argosino has taken on the grueling task of doing everything in this project herself: from choosing the color of paint to furniture, from kitchen equipment to hiring and training, the do-it-all powerhouse isn’t one to let you know that she’s taking it on herself. This is not her being boastful or some form of Freudian repression and her deep-seated inability to work with others for fear of failure. Rather, she is forthright in her reasoning: she has a very particular concept and doesn’t have time to compromise on her vision.
The layout for The Brass Lamp.
“I’m specific and strategic about my idea,” Argosino said. “From the the wine and beer to the amount of items on menu. I don’t have time to try and partner with someone to convince them that one way is better than another.”
In fact, Argosino has little time to give in to the wants and desires of anyone—including publicity. The entrepreneur was approached by Spike TV to appear in a reality show that highlights and follows female business owners. However, the more she spoke to the television producer, the less she felt it was inappropriate: “They wanted drama—I have too much work to do to entertain them.”
We’ll be happy for her lack of catering to others. After all, she’s in the midst of signing a lease along the Promenade to make the Brass Lamp become tangible in a 5,000 sq. ft. space. Once her plans hit the city for approval, we’ll be seeing Argosino move in. Come five or six months later, the Brass Lamp will open its doors and serve up some craft beer and a hand-selected wine list. (Liquor is not going to be an option because that opens up a conditional use permit process that many business owners know can be a treacherous nightmare of bureaucratic tape and fees).
The space will be one-third bookshop, with the selection curated by the owners of a “very well-known bookshop that closed up shop.” (Do we smell a mini Acres of Books?) And Argosino hopes other small businesses will share her space with her. Bottle shop, maybe? Or a tea shoppe? All possibilities.
Additionally, the space is already equipped with office nooks, a feature she plans on keeping for those who need a little group think session to get going because restaurants are often loud and expensive.
“The privacy and intimacy of a book bar will be perfect for those kind of meetings,” Argosino said.
As for the aesthetics, think Harvard-esque library gone urban—“polar opposites,” as she describes it.
“I’ve said it a hundred times: it’s more than just building a bar or business or restaurant. I want The Brass Lamp to be foundational for Long Beach. I love this city so much and there’s this change happening, y’know? It’s ‘LB 2.0’ and, unquestionably, I want to be part of that.”
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