Longtime brewer opens Public House wine bar in ABQ

Head brewer at High and Dry opens Albuquerque wine bar

Public House owner Andrew Kalemba at the business’ building in April 2022. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

The white brick building at the corner of Hermosa and Copper has lived many lives.

The Nob Hill building used to be a house. Later, it was a salon. Most recently, it was a tattoo parlor.

And now, it’s home to wine bar Public House and comfort-food restaurant Butter.

Despite its long history, Andrew Kalemba, owner of Public House and managing partner and head brewer at 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 Sept. 17, a little over a week after Butter opened. The liquor license for the wine bar extends to Butter, so customers can grab a sandwich at the restaurant, then stop by Public House for a glass of wine — or vice versa. The shared patio also brings together food and drink.

“Once you’re on site, you’re in kind of an immersive experience with the property and kind of choose your own adventure,” Kalemba said.

Bartender Emily Linzie pours a glass of wine for customers at Public House wine bar (Mike Sandoval/Journal)

High & Dry brewing opened five years ago. Kalemba got into brewing with a few friends when he was living in Austin, Texas.

“I just became obsessed with it and we brewed twice a week for, like, an entire year,” Kalemba said. “And that was that was kind of kind of the rabbit hole.”

Rather than opening another brewery, Kalemba wanted to get into wine. Public House only sells New Mexico-made wines — Kalemba said he’s hoping to change perceptions about the state’s wine culture.

Local New Mexico wines line the bar at Public House wine bar. (Mike Sandoval/Journal)

“I get frustrated when there’s a lot of commentary we hear that you know New Mexico doesn’t have the best wines,” Kalemba said. “There are some really awesome wines being made here. … If we can kind of change that opinion and get them out to more to the masses, I think that’d be awesome.”

The wine list at Public House rotates seasonally. The wine bar features two New Mexico-based producers at a time.

“It allows us to get a little bit deeper into their catalogs and go through their vertical,” Kalemba said. “We can tell, I think, more of an interesting story about who those people are or you can … taste their personality a little bit.”

The Kalembas want the experience at Public House to be comfortable and inviting — especially for people who aren’t experts in wine.

“The wine experience can sometimes be overwhelming, or has kind of a stigma that it’s kind of unapproachable,” Kalemba said. “And the philosophy over here is that very much like High and Dry: wine should be approachable. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy it and like this should be a place where you feel welcome and invited to enjoy a glass of wine.”

 

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