WELCOME TO ESPRESSO ART CAFÉ, TUCSON
Espresso Art is an international café, full service bar with handcrafted cocktails and international specialties, as well as a hookah lounge in Tucson, Arizona - located just a minute from the UofA campus.
Our café offers a wide variety of coffees, smoothies, chia and pastries. The bar, named The Castalian Spring is a drinking library with select international beers, wines and cocktails. In both the café and the bar area, our guests can enjoy fast and free wireless internet, as well as dozens of different hookah flavors.
INTERNATIONAL CAFÉ AND HOOKAH LOUNGE
Whether you are tired of waiting in long lines for overpriced coffee at Starbucks, you want an alternative to the same old regular places to eat on campus, or you are looking for a new place to hang out, read, study, smoke a hookah near the campus of the University of Arizona, with old or to-be friends, see and listen to performances by local musicians, or relax, Espresso Art's International Cafe, is the prect place for you.
Come warm up with a fresh cup of coffee during the cool winters, or cool off in the oppressively hot Tucson summers with an iced drink. Enjoy the unique, European and international atmosphere the coffee shop provides. Smoke a bowl of hookah with your friends after a long day of work or class. People watch on the bustling street of University Boulevard from our outside tables. Or just read a book, drink some tea, and maybe take a cat nap in between classes.
We offer regular and international coffee specialties, pastries and hookah. We have free Wi-Fi access for our customers: if you're looking to surf the internet or do homework on your laptop, you've found the spot. Stop by today and see for yourself.
FULL SERVICE INTERNATIONAL BAR (THE CASTALIAN SPRING)
Whether you are a veteran booze hound, or are here to learn to be one, The Castalian Spring has what you need on our shelves, behind the bar, and in our oak barrels to keep your "divine inspiration" flowing. We take a lot of pride in our attention to detail. We make our syrups right here in house, infuse our own spirits, mellow time honored cocktails in barrels on the back bar, squeeze all our juice lemon by lemon, lime by lime, drink by drink. I stock a whirlwind of top shelf liqueurs and spirits from around the world, I keep an indulgent selection of handcrafted belgian ale's, my wish list, to customer benefit, beat out practicality long ago. We can tell you what it is, where it comes from, what it's for, and why we are exited to have it on the shelf. Whether you're here to talk whiskey, Wordsworth, or triglyphs and metopes, you've come to the right place. Τόδ᾽ ἐστι τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ τῆς Κασταλίας, εἰς συμπίνειν. These are the waters of Castalia, intended for drinking together.
The Castalian Spring, τὸ ὕδωρ τῆς Κασταλίας, a site sacred to the Ancient Greeks, sits on the side of Mt. Parnassus a few hundred yards from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. In order to open themselves to divine inspiration, visitors to the Pythia, the Delphic oracle of world renown, would make the pilgrimage to drink from her waters which remain crystal clear to this day. When I made my own pilgrimage to Delphi as a classics student, it was by this spring that I sat to sit, reflect, and ponder what the future held for me when I returned from Greece. I began to jot down in my small travel notebook an idea for a place where folks could go to sit, study, be surrounded by beauty and attention to detail. A "drinking library," a place away from hustle and bustle, where like minds could meet and idly chat about Euripides, Homer, Joyce or Byron. A place where in the midst of an argument over the exact wording of a stanza or the turn of a phrase, the work could simply be pulled from the shelf. A place where I could bring to life those winks and charms I had lifted from the famous cafes and taverns of Europe that summer; where students could feel like scholars, and scholars could feel at home. I drew it out, more or less as you see it now, right then and there. At the bottom of the page, now scribbled and shaded over by what was to be the bar, was a quick note I had jotted down the day before, the three maxims from above the door to Apollo's temple: γνῶθι σεαυτόν, μηδέν άγαν, Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη.
When I came home, I got to work. It began in my small wood shop, and it clawed its way through the muck and mire of making fanciful ideas realities. I will spare you the details. I built everything- the bookshelves, to the wainscoting, to the entryway to the physical bar itself from wood flooring torn out of my family's 1880's adobe home. Come in sometime, I can point out all the scars left by our old wood burning stove that now decorate the wall paneling and countertops.
Our bar offers handcrafted international cocktails, and we have an exceptional variety of wines and beers.
"I go here everyday...they make the strongest coffee and they have a real piano :)"
"Drinks and service is amazing! Can't get these drinks at any bar."
"The best Old Fashioned I've ever had, and watching the bartenders mix the drinks is really cool. Their attention to detail is impressive."
"So I'm part of a running club and we had originally planned to go to a bar after the run, well Gentle Bens lost my reservation for 25 people and had lied over the phone when they said they don't do cover. So we had to find another place to drink ASAP. My friend remembered that the bar in the back of Espresso Art was finished. We went there and I have to tell you, that was the best service one could ask for, even with only one bar tender. The establishment worked so hard to get us all drinks and service on time. They went above and beyond.
"No, it's not the fastest place on the planet, but it's worth the wait and the conversation with the baristas."
"Appropriately-named Espresso Art occupies a cozy nook next to my go-to art supply store, Posner's. It must be nearly impossible as a harried student to bypass the aroma of baked sweets, espresso, and pipe smoke. If the latter is a turnoff, Espresso Art might not be your kind of coffee house. The smoothies are rich and delicious, although I wish they offered dairy-free options. The sugary baked goods are unique - so unique that the counter girl didn't, in fact, know anything about the lumpy, powdery pastry cup that caught our eye. She gave it to us for $1, and it was a delectable deal, whatever it was. The apple cider is fresh and hot, the coffee drinks strong and generous, and the service is strikingly thorough for a college joint."
"Espresso Art recently (that is, within this year I believe) obtained a license for alcohol. The back area has now been converted into a bar and lounge. My friends and I came here one afternoon and were delighted to find that beverages aside from tea and coffee were available. I really love their London Fog served in copper mugs. They also have punch cards for these drinks as well."
"Wonderful, fun and always a crowd. Excellent espresso. I don't do hookah so i can't comment on it but it doesn't bother me."
"This is my favorite cafe in Tucson. The lattes are good, inexpensive and the Wi-Fi is free. No, it's not the fastest place on the planet, but it's worth the wait and the conversation with the baristas. Also, the pastries are delicious! And they serve sausage and egg muffins here. Espresso Art is a darling little place on University -- a great addition to the restaurant scene. Danny, the owner, keeps a rotating art gallery, allowing local folks to show their stuff for free. And it's decent art, too! He doesn't just throw anything up on the walls. And when we're done with the summer, it is absolutely gorgeous sitting out front under the umbrellas. Really -- this cafe seems plucked right from Europe. The staff is a cool bunch."
"I come here during the school year to smoke hookah. I go with my best friend and I usually enjoy myself. The hookah is good, and we eventually became regulars so the staff go to know us. I would come in the summer too, but they close at 10 and that's way to early for me. I love to people watch, and the music for the most part is enjoyable. It's such a quirky little place, I like it despite all the negative reviews."
"I have always loved this coffee shop and I love the new bar in the back! It is the perfect spot to meet up with your friends for a gossip session! Also nice to go hang out by yourself and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Love it!"
"I was at the U of A with a friend, needed coffee and I think this is the place we went in. It looked like a standard university area coffee place, I didn't want or get coffee. My bottled water was awesome, but shadowed by the impossibly good latte I tasted. Very, very good. I don't think I've had a better coffee drink ever, and I don't even drink lattes."
"There are a lot of things I love about this place. First, it has great casual outside seating (perfect for people watching). Second, the espresso is great! I personally love their chai tea because they add tons of cinnamon and nutmeg on top. It's an easy place to study, or meet up with a friend you haven't seen in ages. Plus, you can't beat the consistently fast free wi-fi."
"Pretty chill spot with a local live band playing some tunes. Very friendly staff and easy to deal with. They also have hookah which makes the coffee experience that much better."
"I absolutely LOVE this coffee shop! These are my 3 favorite things about Espresso Art: 1. Mocha Bianca: The best white chocolate coffee around. If you are a fan of white chocolate and coffee, order this. 2. The Art: Every few weeks new artist display their new collection. There is nothing like getting to Espresso sitting on a table and looking at the new paintings or photographs before you sink into your books. 3. The people: The people that go here are really cool. You often meet new interesting individual if you go to Espresso often. This coffee shop has been my home away home. I highly recommend this Espresso Art if you are near the area, want to relax, get a little coffee and maybe even a little hookah. There is nothing like it near campus!"
"Good hookah. Great service. Opens early & closes late. Overall a great place to just relax and enjoy some hookah while studying or just socializing with friends."
"I love this place! It is very hard to get bored or get used to it. The place has assorted arts that its customers bring and display. Anyone who knows how to play piano can freely inside. Great study room upstairs."
"I love the vibe of this little place! They have great places to study (in the back! & upstairs!) and great places to socialize both inside and out! They have great tea (not a huge, extensive menu, but not bad considering its right on University!) and also offer coffee. LOVE how they have little sugar cubes, too! Its got a funky feel/vibe and is a great place to kick back and relax between classes. The hookah smoke doesn't bother me at all...I actually kinda like the flavored tobacco smells wafting through the air - though I've had friends that are bothered by it (even though its only allowed outside!) My fave is that if you're choosing to "dine in" (as opposed to get your drink on the go), they'll serve it to you in a giant mug - not a disposable cup. Good for the environment, and fun for you! Plus they'll refill your water for free when you've got a tea bag, so if you're like me and you suck it down right away, you can re-steep the bag in a fresh cup of water and get more for your money! Love them!!!"
(actual reviews from yelp.com and our Facebook page)