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Requiem Cafe Shines a Light on Underrepresented Folks in the Gaming Community

Requiem’s cozy ambience and artistry aren't limited to its drinks. A stained glass wall adds to the ambiance. Photo by Rachel Mendiola, Culture OC

If you think about what life was like not too long ago, you wouldn’t envision a palpable presence for gaming culture. While gaming culture has always been a thing, there weren't always spaces for members of the community to convene. Today, things look a little different – and in a good way. 

Requiem, a queer-owned, fantasy-themed establishment located in downtown Anaheim, embraces gamers, anime fans, comics enthusiasts and more. From fruitful collaborations with community partners and well-known companies to unique franchise-themed beverages, Requiem provides monumental experiences for members of the gaming community. Immersion and hospitality are at the center of the café’s atmosphere, with 2,500 square feet emulating a fantastical setting with one-of-a-kind seating options. It was founded in 2019 by Kris Irons, and since then, forever changed the common perception of a coffee shop.

Owner Kris Irons poses outside of the café’s entrance and is open for business. Photo by Rachel Mendiola, Culture OC

Transformative in nature, coffee and tea are now called “potions.” Health, stamina and mana elixirs revitalize every corner. The unique menu also invites O.C. gamers to an eclectic choice of savory and sweet foods, like waffles and soups to munch on while talking about your favorite shonen anime arc. An item shop also populates the premises, showcasing a plethora of exciting merchandise followed by the largest collection of squishmellows and plushies. 

The space is also a proud host of special events. Events featured in the past include collaborations with renowned works like Homestuck, Undertale, Crunchyroll, the Persona series and Disney’s Owl House. Events alter the menu, tailoring it to the celebrated theme. Events also generate a passionate turnout of cosplayed fans. Through coffee, enticing merch and a strong sense of inclusion, Requiem situates itself as a powerhouse of camaraderie for those looking to connect and explore their niche interests. 

While Requiem cultivates an inclusive culture to its external audience, the space also implements inclusivity, compassion and warmth with its employees.

“The experience here is like, really nice. The community that comes here is very friendly, especially with each event. You have no idea how friendly they are, especially the Homestuck people. Also, my coworkers are very kind. They are a second family.” says item shop employee Teresa Hernandez. She also proudly shares that her favorite event is the Homestuck collaboration.

“(Requiem) has grown a lot. I started working here a year ago for the Homestuck event and since then, we’ve seen the community grow. We had a bunch of fans start up a club in our public discord server and now, they come here semi-frequently,” said one of the café’s baristas who chose to remain anonymous. “We have events that are being discussed internally, and they’re all going to be announced beforehand on our Instagram.”

With exciting events coming down the pipeline that have yet to be revealed, Requiem is ready to host more gatherings and continue to generate its continuous, excellent turnout. Its collaboration with Disney’s Owl House, where the scenery tailored itself to the show, invited the show’s voice actors for a special livestream. Other recent, successful events include a collaboration with the Persona series’ launch of an enticing spinoff, “Tactica.”

Requiem’s modern interior during its collaboration event with Disney’s Owl House in early February. The interior holds walkways with many different booths fit for intimate conversation. Photo by Rachel Mendiola, Culture OC

Events, however, have also been tailored to assist the community through hard times. Requiem’s Video Game Industry Layoff Meetup invited those who recently experienced employment layoffs in the gaming industry to grieve, share stories and network. Irons and his diligent team set attendees up for success, comfort and optimism.

“At Requiem, we celebrate a lot of niche cultures and fandoms. Whether you love indie video games, a TV show, an anime or a cartoon that you might love but feel doesn’t get represented very often in other celebrations (or conventions), we take those and give them a home here,” Irons said. “It brings in a lot of people who identify with those things, who love to cosplay as those characters and meet other people who are like, ‘Oh! This character I identify with, you know, all the trauma they experienced!’ Stuff like that. They all come here and give people this hub to come and meet each other and it builds that community.”

Requiem makes for a historic location in Orange County. The space is more than its delectable drinks – it is a testament to the way Orange County’s business owners cater to the changing times and amplify the voices of those who were once unheard. Requiem is here to stay and continue to grow the wholesome community of gamers in Orange County. 

Requiem is open noon-10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and noon-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The cafe is located at 280 S. Clementine St., Anaheim. For more information and to keep up with the latest events, visit Requiem’s website


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