To say Brew Urban Cafe is a nice spot to grab a cup of coffee is an understatement. Brew is a cultural institution in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where properly trained baristas serve delicately steamed milk to infuse with pulled shots of Intelligensia espresso. It's a hub where denizens and tourists alike gather, connect, and actually engage in meaningful conversations, oftentimes leading to lifelong friendships. I would know, as I worked there from 2007 to 2010.
"How did you two meet?" friends would ask. "Oh, we met at the Brew last month. We're soulmates."
The indie coffee company has two locations, one in Victoria Park and the other in Himmarshee, Fort Lauderdale's nightlife district. As the Himmarshee district continues to transform from indie enclave to a playground where bedazzled bros run rampant, many locals have moved on to find new places to frequent. Unfortunately, this loss in popularity to a once-thriving neighborhood is bad for coffee-shop business, and thus, sadly, Brew Urban Cafe's Himmarshee location is shuttering its doors today at 8 p.m.
The Victoria Park location, however, is flourishing and is to remain open, according to owner Bob Denison, who purchased the two shops in late 2009 from the previous owners and founders, Rick and Dede Hunter.
"Closing the Himmarshee location was one of the hardest decisions we've made, ever," says Denison. "Before we owned Brew, we were loyal fans like most Brew customers. We had a strong connection to the Himmarshee store. Taking over that location was something we felt was a sacred thing. In many ways, we felt it was Rick's baby. Closing it down sucks."
News broke last Thursday about the shop's closing when a notice was posted at the downtown store stating: "We are moving into some new opportunities. Please visit us at our Victoria Park location while we prepare for some new, exciting coffee fun."
Granted, "coffee fun" sounds appealing, but what does this mean? What does this mean for the Fort Lauderdale community at large?
As the shocking news sunk in, many customers and former employees began to lament. Why would they close the shop? We had so many beautiful memories there.
Then rumors began to spread that whoever took over the shop's lease intends to transform the cozy, artsy space into a sushi eatery. Gee, just what South Florida needs, another sushi restaurant.