You know those paintings — the ones of some paradise landscape with people wearing togas or something if they’re wearing anything at all and some of them aren’t? Some of them have furry legs and horns and are playing flutes or harps. Some of them are little and chubby but that doesn’t seem to stop them from flying above on their little wings. There’s obviously drinking going on, which may or may not explain some of the nakeds.
Everybody’s beautiful. Nobody’s working. Nobody’s stressed. Nobody’s fussing or fighting. Nobody looks like they want to be anywhere else except right there.
That’s where we are. Right now.
Was there an Arcadia coffee shop?
Those paintings are based on Greek mythology. Actually, they’re based on Greek geography, and a mountainy place in southern Greece called Arcadia. But while Arcadia the place was and is a lovely area, Arcadia the ideal, the one in the paintings, is really where most of us
would love to hang out. Like some of the people in the paintings are — hanging out. Never mind.
Anyway, Arcadia had the reputation of being the place where the god Pan lived. You remember him: Half man, half goat, god of nature and woods and wild places; always spotted with the hottest nymphs and shepherd boys. Arcadia was, for the ancient Greeks and, really, for centuries of writers and artists who would come after (most of them who had never actually been there), a paradise on Earth.
And except for the fact that the paintings make it look like wine was the only thing to drink and there was no Arcadia coffee shop, yeah, it was probably pretty paradisical. That’s why the name “Arcadia” pops up throughout history to describe places we like to think of as paradise.
Places like where we are. Right now.
Yes, there is. We’re sitting in it
Over the centuries, places all over the world have adopted the name Arcadia. Here in Phoenix, Arcadia is a unique neighborhood on the near northeast side, between the Biltmore area and Old Town Scottsdale. And it’s that location, between those two historic communities, that makes Arcadia unique and, yes, darn near paradise.
Arcadia doesn’t suffer from the snootiness and trying-to-impress-everybodyness of Biltmore, the touristy feel of OTS, and the high prices that go with both. What it does have are some attractive neighborhoods that are still really about the neighbors. It has local, independent businesses (owners of which may also be neighbors) instead of row after row of the big chains. It has brewpubs and grills and nightspots. It has great places to hike and run and bike, or just stroll. Maybe even pushing a stroller.
And unlike Pan’s ’hood in Greece of old, there are Arcadia coffee shops. One of them is … kind’a different.
That’d be us.
What would you expect an Arcadia coffee shop to be like?
A coffee shop in a unique neighborhood ought to be unique. So six years ago, when we were ready to open a Sip Coffee and Beer in Arcadia, we looked for a location that wasn’t what you might expect for a coffee shop. Even an Arcadia coffee shop. And we picked … a Jiffy Lube.
Now, it wasn’t a Jiffy Lube anymore, of course. And after the renovation you weren’t walking in smelling oil and antifreeze or anything. But we kept some of the vibe. It’s kind of industrial, kind of garagey. So of course we had to name it Sip Coffee and Beer Garage. (Our first location is the kind-of-homey Sip Coffee and Beer House, so it’s like a house with an unattached garage. Except it’s unattached by about 11 miles.)
The question in your mind, of course, if you’ve never been here, is “Does it work?”
We like what one of our many positive reviews online says: “The space is brilliantly laid out. I love the concept of the old oil change station, as the doors can be opened during great weather.” Yes, it works. And we think it’s just the right fun neighborhood feel you would like to find in an Arcadia coffee shop.
Still, it’s not all about the design and vibe.
And we’re not just a coffee shop. Our name also says “Beer.” And then we needed a full menu of treats to absorb the liquids. We have that, too, and it all works. Between the coffees and teas, the beers and cocktails, and the many tasty dishes and locally baked treats — light fare and otherwise, our two locations have earned a bunch of awards, local and national, since we first opened the doors of the original House in 2014.
We’re proud that the younger sibling is carrying on that tradition, even if the look and feel aren’t exactly traditional among Arcadia coffee shops.
In fact, we like to think that Sip Coffee and Beer Garage is exactly what a coffee shop in paradise should be.