It’s fair to say that when it comes to being iconic in Albuquerque, our coffee shops hold the award. While all of them provide coffee in all its wonderful and varied forms, the vibes and environments they create are so varied that they tend to hold more precedence in decision making than the actual coffee itself (though if the coffee is bad, you’re going to skip it no matter how cool it looks). Off the top of my head, you have the (now gone) Deep Space and their unearthly vibe that changed the Facebook landscape with thousands of profile pictures in front of their wall, Cutbow has the Seattle acoustic vibe down to a T, Zendo owns the minimalist hipster vibe of Downtown or Java Joe’s who has the eclectic collection of everything needed to make a place feel comfortably lived in. Now, we face new contender, Casa De Luna. Casa De Luna is holding a grand opening on Saturday, Mar. 7 from noon to 6pm. Located in the eye-catching space at 1401 Fifth Street NW, renovations have been done to turn this historic building into something new. This two-story space with its huge round glass window overlooking the neighborhood has been sitting abandoned for a while now, so it’s good to see it being converted into something new and intriguing. So what is helping this shop stand apart from the others? Let’s talk vibe first. Speaking with Alexis Garza, the co-owner, he told me the goal is to walk in and feel like you’re at home. The space used to be residential, meaning when it came time to convert and change things, they had options a lot of other businesses don’t. For example, the kitchen has now become the coffee bar, allowing people to walk in to and sit down for a cup of coffee in the kitchen, like you would with friends at their place. With multiple floors to explore, there’s plenty to see and do, and if you find one room too loud, you can seek out a secluded space to be alone with your thoughts and coffee. Additionally, as Garza is an artist themselves, they want to support local art, opening up space for local artists to hang their work and get the recognition they deserve. Creating the space for others to succeed is admirable and worth attention. Who doesn’t need an extra bit of art in their lives? Finally, live performances. What coffee shop doesn’t deserve a good acoustic set from time to time? With a designated space and plans to bring in performers, Casa De Luna is looking to help promote music while giving guests a place to unwind with a drink and tunes. There are two important things that are happening with Casa De Luna worth mentioning. They’re bringing a coffee shop to a neighborhood without a nearby one (within a couple minutes travel distance) while also restoring a beautiful property in the neighborhood. Coffee, and by extension a coffee shop, is the lifeblood of a lot of places. It’s what starts so many mornings, where meetings can take place, it houses community pieces and celebrates what makes the little guy so important. Starbucks can and will continue to grow, but they’ll always have the corporate feel to them, a place that is indistinguishable from any other version of themselves. Our local coffee shops foster creativity and unique cultures on their own and are deserving of our admiration. As for the coffee itself, it’ll be locally roasted. They’ll be working with The Brew Coffee Bar and Roasters to bring fresh custom roasts to Casa De Luna. We won’t be able to give it our official seal of approval until Saturday, but judging by the way they’ve handled everything so far, we have no doubt that Casa De Luna is going to be sticking the landing on the taste front.
Casa De Luna Grand Opening1401 Fifth Street NWSaturday, March 7Noon-6pm