Come Hang Out at brewd, a Coffee Lounge

January 13, 2012

By Teya Vitu

Each granite-topped table at brewd, a coffee lounge, has only three chairs with an empty space on the fourth side.

That’s not the only variation upon the norm at brewd, opening January 14 at 39 North 6th Avenue. There’s the spelling and lower-cased nature of “brewd,” for instance.

“It was different,” Kate Preble said.

Kate Preble and Phil Bryson want brewd to be a comfortable gathering place.

“I can’t tell you how many people walked by and said ‘you left out the second e,’” Phil Bryson said.

Preble and Bryson married a year-and-a-half ago. The coffee shop has been in the works pretty much since they took their vows.

The shop is all Preble’s vision, though Bryson will serve as the on-site “person in charge,” while Preble tends to her day job as a City database administrator.

Brewd is a throw-back to the old European coffee house, right down to the retro furnishings and original 1910s pressed tin ceiling. The ambience is a hang out, a place where you will not be rushed off if you want to spend hours there with your friends.

“It’s not about turning tables,” Preble said. “This is funky and old. I didn’t just want to serve business people. We’re open evenings. We want college kids. This would be a good place for them to hang out. Our kids want to do something but they don’t want to go to a bar.”

They shopped on craigslist to pick up the granite-top tables and wood chairs with cut-outs of steaming cups of coffee on the back rests. The huge room has tables in the middle, 40-foot long counter seating ideal for laptops along one wall and a shorter standing counter against the opposite wall.

“We didn’t want to do the very modern high-tech feel. We want comfortable,” Bryson said.

Then there are the tables with three chairs.

“It’s more useable,” Bryson reasoned. “Not everybody is going to want four people at a table. You have a lot of two’s and three’s. That leaves more room between tables. You can always move things around.”

Out front you’ll find four vintage sofas and window seating in the area you may call the entry or lobby but that Preble is calling The Living Room. There’s also a conference room if you want to get away from the hubbub.

The long counter seating has electric hookups for your laptops, and brewd is outfitted with wi-fi.

At times, there will be live music. A large screen TV will have sports or a choice of movies from Netflix.

brewd will be open seven days a week and the hours, so far, are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, maybe 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and they’re thinking 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Saturday morning hours won’t see a lot of Downtown office workers, but Bryson has his eye on brewd serving as a pit stop for early morning cyclists.

“Coffee and bike riding go hand in hand,” said Bryson, himself steeped in the local bicycling culture for the past 24 years, most recently building wheels and doing other shop work at Sabino Cycles.

Three chairs to a table provides for more room and flexibility.

The coffee comes from Adventure Coffee Roasting, owned by Tucsonan Scott Gilliland, who supplies brewd with a variety of South American and African beans.

“Every day I was driving to work and saying ‘I wish I could get a really good latte,’ Sadly, there was nothing,” Preble said.

She took matters into her own hands and got nothing but encouragement, even prodding, from her church’s life groups. Preble first thought of opening a coffee shop on the east side, where they live.

“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you do it Downtown?’” Preble remembered. “We looked at a lot of places on Congress. This is funky and old. I also wanted a place for people to get together and build some community.”

They have a large, open space, high-ceilinged, 1,800 square feet for the public.

Local bakery Small Planet, 411 North 7th Avenue, supplies pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, empanadas and giant cookies. Other local bakers bring in other pastries.

Preble and Bryson strike to be all local.

“The walls are currently blank because we’re hoping to have local artists display their art,” Preble said.