You normally associate listening to jazz music while enjoying a fine wine but i've discovered that listening to jazz, especially live jazz music, while drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea works just as well and in the case of Kick Butt Coffee Music and Booze, I think they have hit upon a great pairing of music and drink. Jazz and a cup of Joe? who would have thought?
Thomas Gohring open his first Kick Butt Coffee location back in February of 2008. At the time, it was just called Kick Butt Coffee. Kick Butt, because Thomas was a 7th degree Black Belt in KungFu and Coffee, because he had a passion for drinking delicious coffee. So Thomas decided to combine his two passions. What resulted from this paring are two great coffee houses and music venues in Austin. The original location at 5775 Airport Blvd and the newer location at 4600 Guadalupe Street.
A few weeks ago, Thomas decided to hold a contest to come up with a new name for the business. He wanted the new name to better reflect the direction that he is taking the business. The new name, Kick Butt Coffee Music and Booze immediately tells you what that new direction is. Both locations offer up the best Kick Butt coffee, music, and booze in Austin. Both locations have baristas and bartenders that not only know how to make a great cup of coffee, but they do it with pleasure. The places are warm and inviting, small, cozy, and not pretentious. You won't see any of the starbuck groupies here. You might find some Bruce Lee films playing on one of the flat screen TVs while some cool jazz music plays in the background.
What Thomas is about is serving up the best certified organic well roasted coffees he can find. He only chooses the best high altitude hand picked arabica beans from the best plantations in the world. He then roasts those beans to perfection. That same detail for quality shows in his Chai Tea, one of the best it Austin. Combined with one of their homemade breakfast tacos or one of their signature "samiches"like the Bruce Lee "cha cha" or the Jackie Chan Cheddar and Ham "samich", you can't go wrong. This is a uniquely Austin hangout that scores big in both in ambience and taste. But I digress, this is after all not a food review but a jazz music and venue review.
What drew me to Kick Butt Coffee's location on Airport Blvd. was a rumour I heard from a friend that that there was this monthly Jazz Jam going on at a small coffee bar. I later found out that Paul Klemperer who is a well know local sax player in Austin, had approached Thomas, the owner of Kick Butt Coffee with the idea of hosting the Jazz Jam on the first Tuesday of every month. Paul was looking for ways to get jazz musicians out and playing more. Thomas thought it was a great idea and gave Paul the green light to host the show and now several years later, it is one of Austin's best kept secrets. On any given Jazz Jam night, you will see some of Austin's finest Jazz musicians walk in with their instrument and take a seat somewhere in the room. Soon Paul is inviting them up to join the house band. The night I happened to be there John Groves was on keyboards, Tony Bray was on Sax, Paul Pollini was playing guitar, Jimmy Fenno was playing drums and Sean Hopper was on Bass. The Austin Jazz Alliance was there videotaping the show. It will be aired on Channel Austin and also on the Jazz Alliance's YouTube channel, The Austin Jazz Scene.
Once the music starts, (around 8:00pm) it's non-stop until around 11:00pm.
Until now, only the in and hip crowd knew about this little hideout. Now that the cat is out of the bag, its going to start getting crowded so if you looking for a new place to chill out, have a drink, tea or coffee and listen to some tasty jazz, get there early because the good seats go fast.
Oh and one more thing, if you need some ninja throwing stars or nunchucks , they've got them there too.