Espresso Art Café

Hookah, Coffee, Tea, Perfect Harmony!

The Castalian Spring Drinking Library and Bar

November 26, 2013 8:51 am

The Castalian Spring Drinking Library and Bar

The Castalian Spring Drinking Library and Bar is a part of Espresso Art Cafe.

"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.

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 ales, 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 excited 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."

- Danny Mannheim, owner

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The Castalian Spring


"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!"

- Silvia G., Tucson, AZ

"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."

- Monica E., Tucson, AZ

"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."

- Heather L., Lake Havasu City, AZ

"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."

- Aishan S., Los Angeles, CA

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942 E University Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85719
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