The white brick building on the corner of Hermosa and Copper has lived many lives.
The Nob Hill Building was once a home. Later it was a living room. More recently it was a tattoo parlour.
And now it’s home to the Public House wine bar and Butter comfort food restaurant.
Despite its long history, Andrew Kalemba, owner of Public House and managing partner and chief brewer of High and Dry, describes the building as a “forgotten” place – until now.
“We found an inspection sticker from the 1920s,” Kalemba said.
Public House opened on September 17, just over a week after Butter opened. The liquor license for the wine bar extends to butter, so patrons can grab a sandwich at the restaurant and then stop at the Public House for a glass of wine — or vice versa. The common patio also collects food and drinks.
“Once you’re there, you kind of have an immersive experience with the property and sort of choose your own adventure,” Kalemba said.
High & Dry brewing opened its doors five years ago. Kalemba got into brewing with a few friends when he lived in Austin, Texas.
“I just became obsessed with it and we brewed twice a week for, like, an entire year,” Kalemba said. “And it was kind of a rabbit hole.”
Rather than opening another brewery, Kalemba wanted to get into wine. Public House only sells wines made in New Mexico — Kalemba said he hopes to change perceptions about the state’s wine culture.
“I get frustrated when there are a lot of comments we hear that you know New Mexico doesn’t have the best wines,” Kalemba said. “There are some really great wines that are produced here. … If we can kind of change that opinion and make them more known to the masses, I think that would be great.
The Public House wine list changes seasonally. The wine bar features two New Mexico-based producers at once.
“It allows us to dig a little deeper into their catalogs and walk through their vertical,” Kalemba said. “We can tell, I think, a more interesting story about who these people are or you can… taste a little bit of their personality.”
The Kalembas want the experience at the Public House to be comfortable and inviting, especially for people who are not wine experts.
“The wine experience can be overwhelming at times, or has a kind of stigma that it’s a bit unreachable,” Kalemba said. “And the philosophy here is very similar to High and Dry: wine should be accessible. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy it and as it should be a place where you feel welcome and invited to taste a glass of wine.”