Mixing it up and making it work
Just a 30-minute walk down Wahsatch Avenue is a quaint little cafe called STIR Coffee and Cocktails. Open most days from 7 a.m. until midnight, STIR is home to multiple different atmospheres throughout the day. In the morning, it is a social, happening, and cozy cafe that serves a variety of warm drinks, including a list of “delicious coffee concoctions.” These specialty coffees include the “maestro,” a Cuban-style cortado with caramelized sugar, “el toro,” a South-American-inspired mocha mixed with spicy cayenne pepper and dusted with cinnamon, the “inthanon,” a Thai-style sweet iced coffee, and the “elburz,” an Arabic-style black coffee with cloves, cardamom, and rose water.
While sipping on either a specialty or regular coffee, customers can sit at high or regular wooden tables in a dimly lit space that is reminiscent of a writer’s office, complete with full bookshelves lining the red brick walls.
In its comfortable and welcoming design, STIR seems to encourage intimate socialization and intellectual engagement at all hours of the day; when the hour passes for caffeine, the restaurant offers a large and exciting selection of cocktails, wines, and beers. The cocktails available are all named after books we know and love: the “Wrinkle In Thyme,” composed of Lee Spritis lavender gin, Herbes de Provence vermouth, and Cointreau, and the “Tequila Mockingbird,” a strawberry Thai chili margarita, are two examples. If a $9 cocktail feels too pricey, STIR also offers extensive options for both wine and beer, ranging from a $3 Montucky to the $5 or $6 ciders and India Pale Ale’s.
Not only does the restaurant’s vibe change over the course of each day, but also from week to week and season to season. STIR offers seasonal and daily soups, quiches, pizzas, and desserts. The menu is short and sweet, offering an intentional variety of food ranging from breakfast to dinner options.
For breakfast, the cafe offers items such as a breakfast burrito, fresh bagels, and a quinoa grain bowl soaked with fresh fruit and honey. For lunch and dinner, STIR offers salads, soups, and sandwiches, as well as “small plates” that include dishes such as Moroccan chicken rolls, baked brie, port wine cheese balls, and a white bean hummus. The selection is wonderful, and it allows the menu to feel expansive without overwhelming customers with options. Most meals cost about $9, which is very generous considering the high nutritional value and beautiful presentation of each dish.
“I really love the bookish, cozy atmosphere of STIR,” said senior Tucker Smith. “They have a delicious grilled cheese that’s well-priced with great cocktails and a solid beer list. Plus, if you go during happy hour you can get pretty low-priced, quality drinks. I’d say it’s similar to Shuga’s, but less expensive and doesn’t fill up as fast on a Friday night — and my friends and I always see teachers there, so obviously very trendy.” Senior Sonya Padden added, “Best Moscow Mules I’ve had in Colorado Springs.”
Like Shuga’s, STIR buzzes with a lively, intimate, social energy. What makes STIR more accessible, however, is the short and enjoyable walk past unusual and unique houses down Wahsatch Avenue. This restaurant fulfills any desire, at all times of the day.