El Camino Blog

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Indianapolis Coffee Houses: Strange Brew

Greenwood(south Indianapolis) 8:15pm, Friday, October 27, 2006, The Strange Brew - I’m perched on the bumpy edge of a doctor’s office-gray couch (right next to a lovely orange-with-burgundy-leaf velour sofa, with “door knockers” on the arms). I am listening to the final set of the Shirtless Biddles, an acoustic guitar trio that tends to play drinking-type songs, but mostly decent originals. As I start to type, my ears are assaulted by the noise of several 15 and 16 year-old nymphettes, who are getting a bit too flirty with an elfish 14-year-old boy. Please, is there any propriety left?! Try something more modest than loudly exclaiming 'I gotta pee’ within earshot of me, lil' Britney Pink Simpson! The interior of the Strange Brew is comfy: one big square space, bordered on the back right by a low, broad coffee bar, and secluded on the back left by a 200 gallon tropical tank (with 3 couches, a small fountain, and a funky quad ostrich lamp). Every wall is a different color (mustard, mahogany, taupe); one of them features a big sun lettered The Strange Brew. The Brew's walls are heavy with real artwork (mostly by the wife of one of the Biddles players). Some murals and prints feature in the art mix; my eye is caught by a Hello Kitty head perched at the top of a lime-colored tropical drink. Currently, Strange Brew is letting local artists take turns to show their artwork for the month. Because of strong interest, the Brew's owner is considering reducing the showing terms to 2-3 weeks, allowing for more artists to be accommodated. Photographs are for sale, mostly with subjects of children, old people, poverty, hope. The friendly crowd in attendance on this particular evening hangs around after the Biddles show, and engages in much chatter; it is a much friendlier and more neighborly place than the Abbey. The kiddies are mostly up front, old-timers more toward the back. I must note that the coffee itself is very tasty; I ordered a Black Forest Mocha (which features dark chocolate and cherry flavoring), and the barrister brought it to my table in a hearty stone mug. Some of the Brew's coffee menu includes: Kenyan, Jamaican, pumpkin white mocha, and peanut butter mocha (all the mochas are served hot or cold). Two of the Brew's sandwich favorites include the turkey and the muffuletta sandwiches. And for muffin lovers (I know I'm one), there are lots of moist, tasty muffins. Very informal, some of the help and ownership are mixed in conversing with the patrons; somebody even brings a dog in. I get to talking a bit with some strangers at a nearby table, which is saying something for me. An added location, in the Fountain Square area, is supposed to open soon. In all, Strange Brew is a very pleasant, easy trip, and I'd have to say I like it better than the Abbey. 5 stars.


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