Java developer! Coffee joint in D’town apartment building named for real-estate giant

Barista’s brew: Barista Amy Semple enjoys a flat white at the new Ava Brew coffee shop Downtown.
Photo by Jason Speakman

It is Downtown’s first artisanal coffeehouse — and possibly the world’s first high-end java joint named after a luxury housing developer.

Real-estate firm Avalon Bay has recruited a hipster roaster to open a shop dubbed Ava Brew at the bottom of its massive new Willoughby Street tower Ava DoBro. And the man calling — and pulling — the shots says he is happy to rep an industry with a bum rap if it helps him build a neighborhood hot-spot.

“Developers are kind of infamous in New York as the evil guy, but we found that our experience with Avalon Bay has been really positive,” said Jamie Rogers, co-owner of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Pushcart Coffee, which opened Ava Brew in mid-November. “They really, really want to make sure that we succeed for building a community for our shop.”

Pushcart has several coffeehouses under its own moniker in Manhattan, and toasts its beans at the old Pfizer building on Flushing Avenue, but agreed be the Downtown development’s in-house caffeine slinger under the Ava brand after the company invited it to come on board, Rogers said.

The store is the builder’s way of introducing its 57-story blue high-rise — the tallest in the borough — to its new neighbors, he said.

“They were really looking for a way to be more approachable and have a space where anyone could walk in the door,” he said.

For his part, Rodgers said he wanted to create a community hub in Brooklyn’s busiest nabe, giving locals an alternative to the big chain coffee dealers that currently line its streets. Downtown already has several Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts outlets, but no neighborhood coffeehouses like those in nearby Carroll Gardens, he said.

View from the top: Besides serving up caffeine, Ava Brew also serves as a local hangout spot.
Photo by Jason Speakman

“There’s nothing like us in Downtown Brooklyn,” he said. “The whole purpose is to provide the community with a great local coffee shop.”

The spacious espresso bar, between Bridge and Duffield streets, is partially obscured by construction work on the building right now, but Rodgers says it has already built up a strong local fan base.

Residents — the 861-unit building isn’t quite finished but many have already moved in — students from nearby colleges, workers from MetroTech, and parent teacher associations are already using its couches and free wifi for meetings, work, and hanging out, he said.

Rodgers has also applied for a liquor license to offer wine and beer in the hope that locals will gather there in the evenings as well.

The craft coffee guru predicts Ava Brew won’t be Downtown’s only fancy Joe-dealer for long — other outfits will soon follow the influx of development in the neighborhood too, he said.

“I think we’re going to see more people come into the market with all of the new housing that’s being built in the area,” said Rodgers.

Ava Brew [100 Willoughby St. between between Bridge and Duffield streets Downtown, (718) 643–0022, www.avabrew.com].

Downtown destination: Ava Brew is located inside the new Ava DoBro building Downtown.
Photo by Jason Speakman

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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