Favorite

Leggo My Sammich 

Waffles and beer, oh yes. Crusty, latticed, gold cakes bigger than your head, and a frothy pint o' brew -- the perfect way to start the day, end it, or punctuate a particularly monotonous stretch of existence. Any excuse is a good excuse when it comes to beer and waffles.

We're not just talking sugary treats here; the waffles at Acoustic Coffee Lounge are wheaty and buttery and can be covered in veggies, cheese and meat if you so choose. The folks here have accomplished what most have never even tried: They've outed the waffle from its breakfast closet, exposing it to the wonderful worlds of lunch and dinner.

Imagine, for a moment, that you have never heard of maple syrup, never seen an IHOP commercial, never topped an Eggo with whipped cream. Imagine the taste of a freshly pressed waffle covered in sour cream, cheddar and fresh black bean and corn salsa, folded over pita-style.

This funky little venue has hit upon some surprisingly satisfying concoctions that go hand in hand with a cold brew. If the aforementioned dish, called the La Bamba ($2.50), doesn't float your boat, you can choose from other sandwiches, with names like Route 66 (ham, tomatoes and cheese on a buttermilk waffle) and Fake Plastic Trees (hummus, tomato and feta on a garlic and basil waffle). Or you can create your own; the waffle bar features six waffle flavors, sweet and not so sweet, with toppings ranging from eggs to ice cream, and 14 syrups for those afraid to eat a naked waffle.

The food, however, is just a pleasant sidebar to this local venue, which presents live music at least three times a week, as well as poetry slams, open mike nights (welcome to very broad interpretation) and visual art exhibitions. Opened last July by Jason and Jamie Spears, the Lounge is devoted to bringing talented musicians to the Springs.

The stage makes its home in a back corner of the small but airy room and seating's available at small tables throughout or at the bar. The bar is stocked with Bristol brews and bottled beers, fifths of Jack and bottles of Grey Goose for all the folks who like to let loose during those intimate music and waffle sessions.

The dcor is refreshingly modern. Menu boards are made from burnished steel, shelves are utilitarian, and the table menus are printed and placed inside jewel cases. The non-intrusive environment is an ideal place to escape from work, or to read the paper on Sunday morning, serenaded by live acoustic music.

Despite the laid-back atmosphere, the Lounge is quickly becoming one of the best places to catch new, hip, loud rock, punk and funk bands, such as You Call that Art?, Maggie Jack and Dirty Poodle. Bands have the option of recording live CDs and selling them at the Lounge and through its Web site, making the Lounge the Tommy Mottola of area coffeehouses.

But beyond the waffles, beyond the beer, past the music and more impressive than the CD marketing, is the coffee. Jason Spears makes the best cup of coffee I have ever had, and I drink a lot of joe. I am particular about my beans, and this was the smoothest, richest brew to course down my throat, leaving a spicy aftertaste on the back of my tongue. I even put sugar in it, which I hate (I'm normally a honey person), and it was still amazing. If there were no music, if the waffle iron broke and the beer went flat, if Acoustic Coffee Lounge was only Jason Spears, a coffeemaker and some lawn chairs, I'd still go out of my way for a cup of his fine brew.

But, thanks to the idealistic drive and business know-how of its owners, that will never happen. Acoustic Coffee Lounge simply rocks, and the scene -- waffles, brew, coffee, music and all, is only going to get better from here.

Waffles and beer, oh yes. Crusty, latticed, gold cakes bigger than your head, and a frothy pint o' brew -- the perfect way to start the day, end it, or punctuate a particularly monotonous stretch of existence. Any excuse is a good excuse when it comes to beer and waffles.

We're not just talking sugary treats here; the waffles at Acoustic Coffee Lounge are wheaty and buttery and can be covered in veggies, cheese and meat if you so choose. The folks here have accomplished what most have never even tried: They've outed the waffle from its breakfast closet, exposing it to the wonderful worlds of lunch and dinner.

Imagine, for a moment, that you have never heard of maple syrup, never seen an IHOP commercial, never topped an Eggo with whipped cream. Imagine the taste of a freshly pressed waffle covered in sour cream, cheddar and fresh black bean and corn salsa, folded over pita-style.

This funky little venue has hit upon some surprisingly satisfying concoctions that go hand in hand with a cold brew. If the aforementioned dish, called the La Bamba ($2.50), doesn't float your boat, you can choose from other sandwiches, with names like Route 66 (ham, tomatoes and cheese on a buttermilk waffle) and Fake Plastic Trees (hummus, tomato and feta on a garlic and basil waffle). Or you can create your own; the waffle bar features six waffle flavors, sweet and not so sweet, with toppings ranging from eggs to ice cream, and 14 syrups for those afraid to eat a naked waffle.

The food, however, is just a pleasant sidebar to this local venue, which presents live music at least three times a week, as well as poetry slams, open mike nights (welcome to very broad interpretation) and visual art exhibitions. Opened last July by Jason and Jamie Spears, the Lounge is devoted to bringing talented musicians to the Springs.

The stage makes its home in a back corner of the small but airy room and seating's available at small tables throughout or at the bar. The bar is stocked with Bristol brews and bottled beers, fifths of Jack and bottles of Grey Goose for all the folks who like to let loose during those intimate music and waffle sessions.

The dcor is refreshingly modern. Menu boards are made from burnished steel, shelves are utilitarian, and the table menus are printed and placed inside jewel cases. The non-intrusive environment is an ideal place to escape from work, or to read the paper on Sunday morning, serenaded by live acoustic music.

Despite the laid-back atmosphere, the Lounge is quickly becoming one of the best places to catch new, hip, loud rock, punk and funk bands, such as You Call that Art?, Maggie Jack and Dirty Poodle. Bands have the option of recording live CDs and selling them at the Lounge and through its Web site, making the Lounge the Tommy Mottola of area coffeehouses.

But beyond the waffles, beyond the beer, past the music and more impressive than the CD marketing, is the coffee. Jason Spears makes the best cup of coffee I have ever had, and I drink a lot of joe. I am particular about my beans, and this was the smoothest, richest brew to course down my throat, leaving a spicy aftertaste on the back of my tongue. I even put sugar in it, which I hate (I'm normally a honey person), and it was still amazing. If there were no music, if the waffle iron broke and the beer went flat, if Acoustic Coffee Lounge was only Jason Spears, a coffeemaker and some lawn chairs, I'd still go out of my way for a cup of his fine brew.

But, thanks to the idealistic drive and business know-how of its owners, that will never happen. Acoustic Coffee Lounge simply rocks, and the scene -- waffles, brew, coffee, music and all, is only going to get better from here.

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