I have always been fond of the old Rademacher historic building facing Mirror Pond on the westside of downtown. In my late teens, it was the Mirror Pond Gallery, where my bestie and I would attend poetry readings with mock maturity, sipping wine and spilling words with all the beatnik 40-somethings.
So I was sad to notice the building sitting empty for a spell. Then, this October, sawdust began swirling off the back porch and signs of life began popping up inside. By the first Friday in November, the remodel was complete. And backcountry guide and owner David Marchi opened the doors for business, introducing Bend to his new concept of community: Crow's Feet Commons.
A cycling store offering custom road and mountain bikes, a backcountry ski and snowboard outfitter, a coffee bar, a tap house and a café—Crow's Feet Commons is five businesses under one roof. But since I've never skied the backcountry or ridden a road bike since the ten-speed, I will be honest here—I was there for the coffee, the food and the beer.
The "Brew Hub" offers 15 handles including 12 micros, two kombuchas and Skratch Lab's energy drink. A tasting flight of any five is just $8. They also have several wines by the glass and a small but superb selection of bottled beer, like the 3 Philosopher's Belgian and Tart of Darkness sour stout.
The coffee bar serves espresso from Stumptown, and tempts you with treats from Sweet Tooth while you wait. The pyramid-shaped "chocolate whoops" was dense and dark, sprinkled with what looked like gold. Also on display were some Sparrow Bakery goods. Unfortunately they did not have the beloved ocean roll I adore (hint-hint).
The café serves up a handful of things, in addition to Little Bite's baguette sandwiches. Wrapped and ready for a quick grab, these are long, thin gourmet combos like white bean and cucumber or prosciutto and fig.
But if you have time to sit, don't miss out on one of their house-made specialties: Tour de France "powerbars" with sticky rice ($2), homemade waffle sandwiches ($6) and made-to order meat and cheese boards ($8).
The perfect happy hour or after-sport nibble, the board comes with pecorino Romano, cranberry chevre and Primal Cuts winter sausage. But since it wasn't even noon, I went for a waffle sando, skipping over the sausage and syrup version for the one with brie and fig jam; sharp, sweet, melty and gooey—all tucked between two thin and lacey waffles.
Crow's Feet Commons is a great new gathering place before or after any adventure. So go grab a cuppa' and gather your gear. And when you're all done, go back for a beer.
Crow's Feet Commons
875 NW Brooks St.
7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day