FREDERICTON – What do you get when three music and art lovers band together to create a new venue for Frederictonians? In the case of Krista Touesnard, Rob Pinnock and Michelle Berthelot, it’s The Tipsy Muse Cafe: a cozy hub for creative-minded people to collaborate or simply enjoy the space and bands it will host.
The cafe, which is set to open the second week of January 2019 at 86 Regent Street, is the long-held brainchild of Touesnard, who after the loss of her husband two years ago, decided there was no time like the present to go ahead with her plan.
While this was originally something she wanted to pursue in retirement, Touesnard has taken a leave of absence from her teaching position to focus on making The Tipsy Muse a reality.
“You really do reevaluate life when something that big hits you. This past year, I did a lot of soul-searching, a lot of reevaluating where I am in my life and the time was now,” she says.
“I don’t want to wait anymore.”
Pinnock, known as “Uncle Rob” in his role as a radio announcer for 105.3 The FOX, says it didn’t take much convincing to get him on board with the project.
“This is [Krista’s] vision and we’re here to help see it come to life because it’s something we’re all passionate about as well,” he says.
“Our entertainment is going to complement the downtown, I believe. Our shows are early and primarily acoustic and roots-based… We do have rock bands that are altering their sound in order to play with us, so that’s kinda cool.”
While music will serve as entertainment at the cafe, visual art and craft will be at its heart as well. The founders hope to foster growth in the art community by offering a space for artists to display and sell their work. They also have a partnership with five New Brunswick Craft College students to create unique handmade mugs that will be used and sold at the cafe.
Beyond the creative collaboration between artists and between the founders themselves, Touesnard says the local business community has also rallied together to help them out.
“When we first started talking to businesses, they were like: ‘Anything we can do. We all help each other and a new place is just going to help our place.’ That’s kind of the mentality,” she says.
“It all felt pretty genuine and sincere,” Pinnock adds. “Fredericton is still essentially a small town and that’s what small towns are like. There is definitely the feeling of a lot of support to see this go. It really feels good.”
When it comes to the food and drink they’re planning to offer, Touesnard and Pinnock say they’re focusing as much as possible on sourcing locally and from surrounding provinces. The cafe will serve eight flavours of Montreal bagels from St. Viateur along with house-made cream cheeses named for popular singers and musicians like Elvis and Dean Martin.
Along with a rotating tap of local beers, Tipsy Muse customers will also be able to get a taste of a coffee roast custom made for the cafe by Halifax’s Java Blend. Continuing with their goal to be a supporter of the community, a portion of the profits from one roast will go towards funding music programs in schools.
Touesnard hopes that all of this will come together to create a spot where people will feel comfortable enough to gather and get creative juices flowing.
“To sit down in a little armchair and have vinyl playing beside you and then over in the other corner, there’s a group of students from the Craft College collaborating on a project, then you have a couple business execs looking out the window talking about a meeting or having a meeting, all of that happening in the space is just really cool and exciting,” she says.