I have a new goal in life. Become
Val’s dancing partner on DWTS a regular at Cafeza. In case you weren’t one of the 800+ people who strolled through Cafeza on opening weekend (doors officially opened to the public on September 10), you might not have heard that this adorable new coffee shop / wine bar opened up in the First Ward.
I’ve been driving past this place for months (my boyfriend lives just down the street), and I’ve been steadily tracking its construction. Obviously, I made a point to go as soon as I could once it opened, just to be a taaaad disappointed that there already seems to be a “regular” crowd. Apparently neighbors have been even more nosy than I have, and actually been barging into the construction site inquiring about coffee and such. So while, I’ve been stalking from afar, some caffenistas (I just made that a word) have been establishing their territory for months now. I salute that type of determination.
Open from 6am to 11pm (or midnight!), Cafeza’s doors are nearly always open. I went to Cafeza on Monday after work to take the edge off and if I had things my way, I would have had two glasses of their $5 sangria and a vegetarian empanada ($3.50). Totally within budget. However, since it was the day after opening weekend with record breaking crowds, Cafeza was out of stock of everything. I ended up getting up charged to a $12 glass of wine because that was the only bottle of red they had left…and it was being stored in the fridge. Struggles. (The experience kind of reminds me of the time we went to Anejo for brunch on opening weekend…such a learning curve).
Nevertheless the café is adorable. It has all the characteristics of a typical coffee shop — local art, musician line up, plenty of outlets, and a well experienced staff. Plenty of the baristas were poached from other well-known locales like Common Bond and Campesino Coffee House–so assuming what you order is in stock, you know you’re going to get a great drink. I was there for a few hours with some friends and the manager made a point to ask our names and get to know us. Step one when trying to become a regular: Befriend the staff. CHECK.
Cafeza has great lighting, with big windows that let in lots of natural light. They have some outdoor seating on Houston Ave and a small patio out back. They share a parking lot with Café Brussels (fantastic authentic Belgium food if you haven’t tried it!!) and have a chalk wall outside that you can write what you’re grateful for–I’ve written on this many times over the past few months. I look forward to coming back to Cafeza on the days when I get to work remotely. The empanada I snacked on was perfect, and the chocolate covered churro (not on the menu — just the kitchen having fun), was delightful as well. Next on my bucket list is to try that sangria. Priced at $5, it has the makings of a perfect happy hour drink–assuming they can keep it in stock.