Many of us coffeehouse aficionados will recognize the Witch's Brew spot at 1517 Girard Blvd. N.E. as the dear, departed Blue Dragon.
There’s nothing like a quirky, comfy coffeehouse. It’s an organic entity that calls for the perfect mix of great coffee, a homey atmosphere and inviting staff. Combine all that with tasty eats, a free pool table and walls adorned with creations of local artists, and you have the recipe for Witch’s Brew.
Many of us coffeehouse aficionados will recognize the Witch’s Brew spot at 1517 Girard Blvd. N.E. as the dear, departed Blue Dragon. Manager Cory Minefee and his crew have breathed new life into the building. Minefee, a member of the Albuquerque Americana outfit The Saltine Ramblers, has given his own spin to the well-loved communal, creative principles that Blue Dragon fans will expect from the space.
While the vibe is much is the same, Witch’s Brew has revamped the place. Renovations include freshly installed booths that make taking a seat a pleasure. Adjoining rooms offer plenty of space to stretch out, relax and sip your coffee or get reading or studying done. In the front room, perch at the bar to yap with the counter staff, play pool or challenge a friend to a game with the on-site board game collection. Another room features a more open layout and a stage in the corner. Witch’s Brew stands at the ready to host your writing or poetry group and concerts. Separating the rooms is an inspired idea you don’t see at most coffeehouses. Even the 505’s most disgruntled curmudgeons can enjoy their coffee in one room, while music lovers sway along to the dulcet tones of their favorite singer in another.
Witch’s Brew celebrated their grand opening on Saturday, June 20, and the shop is off to a strong start. When I dropped by, humanity buzzed throughout, guitarist Chuck Hawley owned the stage room with his original tunes, and a spread of three types of pizza was available to sample. Based on my taste test, I recommend ordering the White Pizza for a punch of garlic or the Taco Pizza for an unexpected combo of their signature black bean-red chile sauce, roast chicken and al fresco taco toppings.
Unable to resist an afternoon pick-me-up, I opted for a latte made with Red Rock Roasters’ beans and a Thingamajiggy Sandwich. Born of the absence of a traditional stove top, the Thingamajiggy is an oven-baked frittata-style egg sandwich. Three versions are available, and each incorporates a spectrum of complementary ingredients on your choice of bread. I went with the croissant, and the black bean-red chile sauce was generously smeared on, creating a blanket for the Thingamajiggy. This menu item is an unexpected, fresh take on breakfast and a savory lunch option. Of its many virtues, my favorite thing about the Thingamajiggy is the built-in toppings; nothing can slide out or shift around in your sandwich because it’s been baked in.
Between the creative breakfast sandwiches and pizzas, there’s so much more to Witch’s Brew than just coffee. And the menu doesn’t end there: nachos, soups, salads and burritos can also be yours. One visit to Witch’s Brew will leave you charmed. Go more than once, and you risk becoming permanently bewitched.
–Ariane Jarocki is calendar editor at ABQ Free Press. Reach her at email@example.com