Kingfly Spirits in Strip District is making something new: a daytime cafe

The Strip District Kingfly Spirits distillery is known for its whiskeys, spiced rums, vodka, gin and liquor, served as cocktails in its lively bar in the evenings. Now Kingfly has added freshly brewed coffee to the mix, looking to claim Daylight Hours as well.

Kingfly Café opened Wednesday in the 11,000 square foot space, selling coffee and fresh baked goods as well as caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Doors open at 9 a.m.

The java is supplied by Commonplace Coffee House & Roasters, which has multiple locations in Pittsburgh in addition to its home base in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

“TJ has the coffee experience. We can grow with him and we can help his business grow,” Willson said. “It feels good to work with him and his whole team.”

Courtesy of Rachelle Horning

Kingfly Spirits in the Strip District opened the Kingfly Cafe on March 23, serving coffee and fresh baked goods. The distillery collaborates with Commonplace Coffee House & Roasters.

Before the pandemic, Willson had considered adding a cafe. He wanted to give another daytime option to the Strip District, which is teeming with new businesses as well as new residential units.

The cafe is also a way to make full use of the large space, which was originally a stable and hayloft built in the early 1900s. Kingfly hosts private events, stand-up comedy, weekly jazz and a collective artists’ market launched last fall.

Willson said they imagined the cafe also serving as an informal workspace, between home and office. The space is large enough to accommodate people who want to hole up in a corner and work, or linger over a cup of coffee and socialize.

Kingfly’s signature brew is Commonplace’s Bohemian Blend, both as a pure coffee and as an ingredient in coffee-infused cocktails.

The coffee is offered with dairy and non-dairy options, and the natural panela cane sugar from Colombia which is used in Kingfly’s white rum.

Special Projects Manager Scott Burke is the maestro of coffee-inspired beverages and more.

“I’m all about the details,” Burke said. “We use natural ingredients to enhance the experience, including raw sugar, real ginger, real vanilla and real maple. I love starting new things.

He said Kingfly offers a different vibe than other places in town. “Everything we make here is in small batches and is organic,” Burke said. “They allow me to be creative.”

He will concoct coffee and tea drinks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic selections. He plans to partner with a nutritionist to create blends for anxiety and upset stomachs and will offer a ‘make your own blend’ option.

“It’s about casting a wide net,” Burke said. “Welcome everyone and offer them a wide range of choices.”


Courtesy of Rachelle Horning

Kingfly Spirits in the Strip District, known for its signature cocktails, has opened a cafe serving fresh coffee and pastries.

Kingfly is also teaming up with local establishments such as Black Radish Kitchen to host corporate meetings and events, as well as Pittsburgh Juice Co., Vanilla Pastry Studio, Colangelo’s Bakery & Café and Bistro To Go. Teas will be provided by SerendipiTea , based in New York.

When asked why he wanted to partner with a distillery, Fairchild didn’t have to think twice.

“I love bourbon almost as much as I love coffee,” Fairchild said, sipping a glass of bourbon. “I love Mark’s approach to this beautiful space. This is a perfect location for Commonplace Coffee.

Kingfly Spirits ( is located at 2613 Smallman St., Strip District. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. “Coffee Cocktail Happy Hour” is from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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