Catholic Charities branches out into the coffee and wine bar biz - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Catholic Charities branches out into the coffee and wine bar biz

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PHOENIX -

Catholic Charities has opened up a new bar in Phoenix -- a coffee and wine bar. The nonprofit is venturing into the business side.

Yeah, it's not something you would normally put together -- a Catholic charity and the bar scene.

But the nonprofit is blending the two, catering to the coffee, wine, and beer crowd.

A sacred sacrament during mass. This is what you'd normally expect when you talk about Catholics and wine. But this is what you get when you mix Catholic Charities and wine in central Phoenix.

By day, this cafe serves up frozen mochas, but by evening, the bar is serving up wine and beer. The money made on libations here is going to a social cause.

"Any profit that we make goes right to help the people that we serve at Catholic Charities," says Steve Capobres.

Catholic Charities took a leap of faith, investing $700,000 in The Refuge Café, which opened for business on Wednesday.

"Government funding continues to go down, it's getting more competitive to find donors. All of us are looking at different ways to start raising resources for ourselves."

They've got several beers on tap and a good selection of wine. From the looks of it, it doesn't really look like its run by a nonprofit. Kind of looks like your everyday bar.

But the charity says. Their goal is far from making this place the next "Cheers."

"No believe me that was the furthest thing from our mind, really what we did was took a look at the opportunity."

Which was capitalizing on the working and evening crowd. There's even a happy hour menu.

"Cool local beer, food, plus it benefits a Catholic charity," says customer Rahsan Bartip.

Many customers agree, combining charity and spirits is no sin in this day and age.

"I was surprised when I heard Catholic Charities bought the flower shop to turn it into this, but I think it's a great idea. Another way to generate income in this tough economy," says Vicki Oonk, customer.

The nonprofit hired 12 people who have experience in the coffee house/restaurant industry to run the place.

It's open to everyone. There's really nothing inside the cafe that looks 'Catholic' per se -- no crosses or praying stations -- just a neighborhood cafe and bar.

They're at the 7th Avenue and Camelback, and they're open from 7 in the morning until 9 at night.

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