Downtown Livermore has come a long way from its days as a dusty, Podunk town. Today, First Street is part elegant, part small-town USA, with lit-up, cascading waterfalls and American-flag-waving bars. Located in the middle is this chain coffee shop, which, at least on weekends, has an enormously popular following. Everyone from twentysomethings to Hot-Topic-clad teenagers flock to this cafe for its large outdoor seating area and prime people-watching location. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, young singer-songwriters play for free to a small, usually parental-aged audience, who feel close enough to discuss things like favorite bands between songs. With hyperactive youngsters downing too much caffeine at the espresso bar, Panama Bay Coffee isn't short on cultural stimulation.

Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri. 5:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat. 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 7 a.m.-8 p.m.




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