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First Look: Cuvée Coffee Bar

They're not quite there yet, but it's looking real good.
Wayne Alan Brenner, 2:45pm, Mon. Aug. 11
photo by John Anderson
Sometimes awesome things are by themselves and sometimes they're clustered in a group.

This may be due to sheer chance, or through intent – as when the instigators of the clustered things heed that old saying, "There's awesomeness in numbers."

[You know: Like the entire thriving compound at 507 Calles that we reported on a while back.]

In the case of the bar that's being opened by the enterprising folks who bring us Cuvée Coffee, we see that old saying verified again: The new place on East Sixth that's going to have its Black & Blue nitrogenated cold-brew on tap is in the same building as Blackboard, Tastemade, Greatest Common Factory, and other creative production companies. And it shares a parking lot with the highly anticipated Gardner and Counter Cafe eateries.

Did we say "cold brew on tap"? Yes, but we should also tell you that the tap is one of twelve taps in a custom-welded tap-tower in the center of the surrounding semi-circular bar, and that the other taps will provide craft beer (nine taps) and whatever wines (two taps) the Cuvée team deems good enough to serve that day.

But none of this is open just yet.
Almost, but not quite.

"There's still more we need to do here," says Cuvée's Lorenzo Perkins, gesturing around what's already looking like a gorgeous stainless-steel-and-wood revamping of a tall-ceilinged industrial space. "So probably not Monday. Maybe by the end of the week. But we'll have a cart out front, and people can come in and take a look around and see what's coming."

Mike McKim
photo by John Anderson

What's coming, according to Cuvée CEO Mike McKim, is a complete reversal of the usual pay-for-your-drink-and-then-wait-around-while-a-barista-creates-it-and-hollers-for-you-to-claim-it paradigm. Inspired by the Modbar brewing system (and the way the lines work at, say, Freebirds), McKim and company are going all neo-Henry Ford on the coffee process.

It sounds, from the way McKim explained the concept in a press briefing on Friday night, like it might just speed or smooth up the traditional caffeinating rigmarole we all go through in a cafe. And of course you'll wind up with your preferred version of a Cuvée-based beverage, and the joint's also going to be featuring pastries from Walton’s Fancy and Staple, and (at least in the evenings) cheese plates from Antonelli’s … so we reckon it's worth checking out this new format in any case.

Actually, listen: As beautiful as the bar and the interiors of this Cuvée spot are, it's worth stopping in for a look-see even if you're someone (read: a poor, sad creature) who doesn't enjoy coffee or beer or wine. What the industrial artisans of Hacienda Construction and Black Cloud Welding have created in the space is a pinnacle of technology, craft, and design, and you'll feel cool just having it in your line of sight.

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