Thursday, January 24, 2013

Welcome to Castilian Spring, the Bar at Espresso Art Café

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Hookah. Coffee. Tea. And now, cocktails?

Espresso Art Café, at 921 E. University Blvd., may be a dream come true for 21-year-old-plus college students.

What was once a lounge where student groups (such as the UA Young Democrats,) would hold meetings is now Castilian Spring, a speakeasy-style bar in the back room of Espresso Art. Jazz music, dimmed lights, old-fashioned wood furnishings and sculptures and mini-statues on the highest shelf of the liquor cabinets make for an underground, prohibition-era feel.

The bartender on Wednesday night, Tyler Dunn, muddled lemon and cucumber with crushed ice before adding tequila, lemon juice and a mixer to the glass. He then shook it and poured a neon green drink in a martini glass adding two slices of lemon, a nice final touch to his work of art.

The small bar specializes in cocktails with most of their juices freshly squeezed to order. Dunn said most of their cocktails are "dark and stormy" and contain bourbons, like in the pre-prohibition times. Though their menu is still a work in progress, the current draft includes daquiris, margaritas, and a Brazilian rum-based drink called caipirinha among other mixed drinks.

Dunn said when the bar isn't too crowded, he enjoys experimenting with drinks based on what liquors and flavors the customer likes.

"What kind of cocktail can we come up with together?" Dunn said. "I think that that's a lot of fun."

The bar is also working on creating infusions with natural ingredients and their alcohol.

The only disappointing thing about the bar is they don't have beer on tap, just bottles. This is partially because of space and partially because it's easier to rotate their selection if they're not selling a certain kind.

Happy hour is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, a perfect time for day drinking after class.

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