Brew or brewed?

Java on Sherman seeks to add beer and wine license

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Nick Smoot works on his laptop Monday afternoon while sitting inside Java on Sherman in downtown Coeur d'Alene. The coffee house owner is applying for a beer and wine license through the city council so he can add micro brews and fine local wines to the food menu.

COEUR d'ALENE - Coffee, beer and wine, oh my.

A longtime downtown coffee shop wants to add micro brews and vinos to its drink selection as a way to complement new culinary fare it's planning to add to its menu.

Java on Sherman, the coffee shop on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Sherman Avenue, is applying for a beer and wine license from the city of Coeur d'Alene.

If approved, it could be pouring out the new drinks by summer.

"We're looking for things that will complement and enhance the foods here," said David Patterson, who has owned Java with wife Lindsay for four years. "We're about celebrating the best locally ... It's the people who are hand-crafting these beers and wine, so it really ties in with our philosophy with coffee."

Customers on Monday said they think the addition would fit nicely with the mellow atmosphere in the hangout spot.

"I like a nice, relaxed, coffee-shop atmosphere," said Christopher Rushford, who hangs out or works on his computer at the shop up to five times a week. "I think (it will be a good fit). It's nice to have a spot where you can do something like this, where you can sit down and have a nice beer in peace and quiet."

Beer and wine licenses, unlike liquor licenses, are not restricted by a city's population.

The state, county and city all charge license fees, varying on the type of service the establishment offers. The on-premise wine and beer license for which Java is applying through the city costs $400 per year. It includes draft, canned and bottled varieties.

Beer, wine and liquor licenses in the city cost $762.50 per year. Cities can only issue one liquor license for every 1,500 residents, and Coeur d'Alene is at its capacity, said Kathy Lewis, deputy city clerk.

Coeur d'Alene has around 46 not-consumed-on-premise beer and wine licenses, and around 54 on-premise ones.

The building at 324 Sherman Ave. has been an ice cream shop and drug store in its former years, but has been dishing up coffee for the last 17 years.

To serve alcohol outside, it would have to put in a barricade from the sidewalk, and Patterson said he plans to serve the drinks outside.

"I thinks it's an excellent idea," said Charyl Jones, who visits the coffee shop once a week, and likes the idea of a glass of wine downtown with her granddaughter without the noise of a jukebox or television playing. "I'd be all for it."

While the selected wines and beers aren't final, Patterson said the focus would be for Pacific Northwest labels, and in fewer quantity than regular bars and restaurants.

"We'll start on the small side," he said. "We'd rather have fewer, great beers than a line full of cheap, trying-to-make-a buck-beers."

Once the inventory is decided, it'll go side-by-side with new sandwich, soups and homemade bread options the coffee shop is planning to offer.

Last week, Hagadone Hospitality announced its plans for a new dance and entertainment venue next to Tito Macaroni's on Sherman Avenue, blocks away from Java.

Java's license will go before the City Council for approval at 6 tonight in the Community Room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library.

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