Carmel Valley couple to open coffeehouse in Del Mar


Locals Liam and Laura Murphy are opening up their “living room” to the community.

With a love of music, the Carmel Valley couple is launching a coffee shop in Del Mar that will also serve up intimate shows.

“It’s about fostering new talent, growing new talent, and also providing a place for established artists to come and serve as mentors to young people,” Laura Murphy said. “We want it to be for the community — like a living room.”

Located at 915 Camino del Mar, Brick 15 is tentatively scheduled to open June 30.

The 1,800-square-foot coffeehouse will serve as an acoustic music venue focused on providing a forum for performing artists with original material. With a view of the ocean, the soundproofed coffee shop is an ideal spot to host shows for the community, the couple said.

“There’s a large audience for the kind of thing we’re doing here and there are a lot of musicians who would love to participate, but there’s a shortage of venues,” said Liam Murphy, whose family moved from Massachusetts to Carmel Valley 12 years ago.

The coffeehouse will open daily at 5:30 a.m. The dining room will close around 6:30 p.m. in the evenings so the shop can open again at 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. for nightly shows with established and emerging performers, as well as other events.

“We’re doing this because we love music,” Liam said. “The coffeehouse piece is the part that pays the bills. It keeps the doors open.”

Liam, who worked as a computer consultant for about 25 years, plans to collaborate with former client Media Arts Center San Diego to offer film screenings at Brick 15. There will also be open mic nights every Tuesday evening. Other potential events include game nights, poetry nights and spoken word nights.

Additionally, the walls of Brick 15 will feature rotating work from local artists. A variety of antiques and novelty items will also be on display and available for sale at the Americana-themed coffeehouse.

“The ‘Brick’ part is about building a community, a foundation,” said Liam, who noted that he and his wife of 24 years decided on the name before they picked the brick building in Del Mar. The name is also a nod to Pink Floyd’s song “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Construction for the coffee shop began in 2015, which is why the number 15 is in the name. Serendipitously, the number 15 is also in the address.

“We’re hoping to have shows every night,” Liam said.

Liam and Laura both have a background in music, which inspired the concept for Brick 15.

Liam started playing drums when he was 5 years old. He later performed in various bands and studied percussion in college.

Laura grew up singing in choirs in middle school and high school. Although she worked in dermatology and neuroscience research for about a decade, she later went on to work at Club Passim, an American folk music club in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she served as the club’s night manager and also ran the children’s music program.

The couple passed down their strong musical roots to their two sons, both Canyon Crest Academy alumni who are currently attending the California Institute of Technology. Their oldest son played saxophone in middle and high school, while the youngest son plays the drums.

“We just love music,” Liam said.

The couple first came up with the concept for Brick 15 shortly after moving to Carmel Valley. Years ago, Liam even organized open mic events in La Jolla. They started to look for places about three years ago, finally signing a lease last year.

Although providing a place for local musical talent is the driving force behind the project, Brick 15 will also feature local artisan coffee roasters. They have already partnered with Rancho Bernardo-based Manzanita Roasting Company and reached out to several others.

They also plan to serve a variety of teas and other healthy drinks, as well as fresh fruit, salads, sandwiches and pastries. A variety of desserts will be available during the evening events.

“You can go to one of the neighborhood restaurants for dinner, and then come here for coffee, dessert and a show,” said Liam, who will serve as the shop’s general manager, while Laura will serve as the booking manager.

Still adding finishing touches and waiting on the building occupancy permit, the Murphys plan to open Brick 15 on June 30 with a performance by Americana singer-songwriter Michaela Anne. They’ve also lined up Rebecca Ann Loeb, former contestant of “The Voice,” for July 17.

“This is going to be a listening room,” Liam said. “It’s about that intimate interaction that happens between a performer and an audience.”

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