There is a strange little coffee shop in South Austin that you ought to know about. That is, if you’re a caffiene-fueled night owl like myself. Strange Brew is one of the few 24-hour coffee shops in Austin. It’s a rare breed that combines coffee, live music, local beer, and a spacious study area. There is something for everybody here.
About Strange Brew
A little background first. Strange Brew opened its doors in 2010 as a humble coffee shop. Its owner, however, wasn’t happy running just another coffee shops in this college town. He had big dreams to make the Brew another type of beast.
Today, Strange Brew holds its own as a live music venue and beer garden at 5326 Manchaca, just north of Stassney Ln. Voted “Best Acoustic Venue” and “Best New Club” at the 2013 Austin Music Awards, you should add this spot to your Austin bucket list right now.
Strange Brew is a local coffee shop through and through. All of their coffee is organic and fair trade. The musicians they feature are mostly local and very talented. Not to mention how Strange Brew features the most impressive local beer selection that I’ve seen in a coffee shop.
This trifecta draws many different types of people to Strange Brew. Sure, you have the usual gaggle of college kids studying in the comfortable lounge area. But Strange Brew’s different attractions keep new and fresh faces coming through the doors. Austin, Texas is a melting pot of people, and Strange Brew is the same way.
My Experience at Strange Brew
I made a point to check out Strange Brew during a live music performance. Why, you ask? Well, there are only so many things you can say about a coffee shop. Trust me: I tried. An espresso can only be so rich, and a pastry can only be so flakey. So why not go with something original?
I arrived at Strange Brew after the music had already started. One thing I appreciated was how Strange Brew accommodated those people who didn’t come for the show, along with the music lovers. It seemed that everybody was welcome to do his or her own thing. I grabbed a coffee and sat down to soak in the Strange Brew experience. Here are my favorite things about the establishment.
There is a lot of seating at Strange Brew, much more than I expected. There are seating areas both inside and outside. Clusters of people chat and sip in both areas, while the more studious among us type away. Strange art (by Austin artists) can be found across the establishment.
The Food & Drinks
I could tell that Strange Brew takes itself seriously as a drink establishment. There is a wide selection of coffees and teas available on the menu. Being a simple man, I didn’t stray from my black coffee. I did see many people order complicated and fancy espresso drinks, though. The baristas whipped these drinks up without any trouble whatsoever.
More importantly, though, was the food menu at Strange Brew. So many coffee shops across Austin serve the same tired pizza, sandwiches, and pastries. Somebody powerful must have sent a memo to coffee shops saying that food should be bland and boring. I don’t think Strange Brew got this memo. You’ll find a combination of local food along with signature sandwiches. My personal favorite was the reuben on rye.
What struck me the most was the fun energy given off by everybody here. I really appreciated the care this establishment gives to its patrons. Strange Brew played the live music through the speakers, so everybody inside and outside could enjoy the night.
As people poured in and out of the door like the music through the outdoor speakers, I watched regular Joes jamming with the music over their coffees.
Some people may be concerned that a coffee house/music venue/sandwich shop/lounge may be stretched too thin to get anything right. I was pleasantly surprised. Few places across Austin can be a jack of all trades like Strange Brew and do it so well. I’d recommend Strange Brew for anybody looking for a unique coffee shop that will give you a little bit of everything.
What is your current go-to coffee shop in Austin?