Many people rely on a cuppa joe to kick-start their morning or power through a major project. But Ashley Williams-Faber and Chris Faber, owners of The Times at S&W bar in downtown Asheville, are counting on coffee to keep the lights on at their intimate lounge until they can again serve craft cocktails.
Had they known when they closed March 16 that nearly 10 months later, they’d still be waiting for the green light to reopen the and be mixing cocktails, they would have purchased their new espresso machine and learning how to operate it months ago, says Chris Faber.
“We’ve watched as every revision to phases was announced, and restaurants and breweries around us re-open, but not bars. So about three months ago we decided we needed to get back in business, and coffee was the way to go,” Faber explains.
Even before the shutdown, he says, they were looking at a craft coffee concept to complement their cocktail brand and take advantage of the development of the adjacent S&W Food Hall to bring daytime traffic to their after-dark gathering place. The shutdown sped up the plan, and just in time for cold weather.
“People want coffee this time of year,” Faber says. “Since we reopened, it’s been so great, having music playing, the lights on, the doors open. Just coming in every morning, getting the espresso machine going and doing all the prep, it’s been wonderful.”
So far, the most popular of the specialty coffee drinks has been the hot buttered latte, which Faber says is reminiscent of the hot buttered rum The Times pulls out of its goodie bag every winter.
Coffee-friendly food items by baker Lyndon Johnson will be added shortly. “It just feels good to be back at work and seeing our friends and regulars come back in the door,” Faber says.
The Times is at S&W, 56 Patton Ave. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday-Monday.