Yesterday, Wes Mapes and his business partners opened AP Coffee on a once desolate block that, until recently, had been known more for its murals. He thinks it was a good call. “This street is going to be the street off [the Jefferson] stop, for sure,” he told Bedford + Bowery. “It may even be the premiere street in all of Bushwick, even above a lot of places off the Morgan stop.” (He may be on to something: the sister bar of Welcome to the Johnsons is set to open just a block away.)
Mapes and his partner Hugo McCloud are artists, metalworkers, architects and musicians hailing from Oakland, California. Their co-owners are Ryan Grant, a former NFL runningback, and his brother Netic, frontman of Game Rebellion.
“We wanted to be able to focus on our creative ventures, so if Netic or I are making an album, we can do that and be free with our schedule and still be able to work in other ways,” said Mapes. “So that was the idea: just, freedom. We did the business plan, we designed it, we built it, we operate it, and it’s ours.”
The guys gave the cavernous space on Troutman – formerly their metalworking workshop – a clean, modern, all-white scheme, broken up visually by handcrafted brass shelving, barn-wood benches, towering bronze water cascade fixtures embedded in the walls, and five skylights that open up the 25-foot-high ceiling. Pastries from Dough, a patissière on the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy, look too pretty to eat in the glass case of the U-shaped counter, another handcrafted piece cast in stainless steel with a blackened patina.
As for the purpose of this impressive setting – the coffee, of course – AP sources theirs from La Colombe, who they esteem as one of the finest purveyors of Mexican java out there.
Mapes insists he and his partners “aren’t coffee snobs,” but he’s aware of concerns that the trendpiece prophecy of Bushwick becoming “the next Williamsburg” will be fulfilled at the expense of its long-installed community.
“I don’t want it to be us just moving in and taking over the community. I want to be a part of the community,” he says, later adding, “When you think of people moving into a new neighborhood, you think of them displacing [people] or changing the dynamic of the neighborhood. But it’s not like this was a residential block or anything. They were just vacant warehouses, and now there are new jobs being created, new nightlife being created… there are new activities for people in the neighborhood.”
The menu, still in development as of now, will consist of comfort foods from all over the world.
“I’m making ginger beer, sorrel, from family recipes,” Mapes says before going on to describe a tonic made with hibiscus flowers and cloves. “Our menu is going to reach everywhere from Turkish recipes to Vietnamese sandwiches, which are really popular right now.” There are also plans for Vietnamese iced coffee and – oh, yes – brunch.
AP Coffee, 426 Troutman St., bet. Wyckoff Ave. & St. Nicholas Ave.