Eye of Tempe: Gold Bar Espresso

Eye of Tempe: Gold Bar Espresso


my name is Liam Huggins and you’re
listening to Eye of Tempe with The State Press and we’re here today with Karen
Miller owner of Tempe’s one-and-only gold bar espresso now one of the first things
I want to ask you is how long has Gold Bar been here it’s been here in this
location since 2002 I heard that I guess at least the gold bar name used to be
over at Xtreme Bean is that true we were there for nine years and then
through some circumstances not of our making we needed to move and because the
gold bar had built such a nice community in nine years
the former owner wanted to stay close and found this location okay it’s always
been kind of interesting all the coffee shops in this corner and kind of how
they all have their unique sort of aspects to them I always find myself
back here at Gold Bar the most but I do think it’s interesting you know seeing
Xtreme Bean or Starbucks that I do occasionally go to now when you got here
to true gold bar what was that in 2002 you said yes gold bar moved here in June
we bought it in October okay okay so really quickly after I moved here
no I think one of the the most fascinating things about gold bar is
kind of the aesthetic of it you know when I when I travel or if I go to new
coffee places it’s very uniform it’s very kind of I’d almost say sterile but there’s a very eclectic design here and I was
wondering kind of what went into that well because it because we’re not the
ones that actually started gold bar the former owner his wife at the time was a
countess in the Netherlands and the two of them liked seeking out art and
antiques and things so that’s how they initially put it together and we’ve
maintained that everything here on the walls on the counters has a story
and it’s just kind of fun to see how some things switch around over the years
yeah it really does kind of have a kind of antique shop feel and I really love
all the kind of posters too you know between the Steve Martin posters or you
know a lot of the Jazz posters and that kind of leads me in one of the next
questions that I’ve had was was kind of the weekly Jazz nights that you have
here how did that really get started we had a jazz band that my husband was part
of for a couple of years before we bought gold bar and of course once we
had gold bar it was a great platform for their music we added a couple of other
musicians musicians kind of have an ebb and flow but the particular group that
we have the plays on Friday and Sunday nights most of those guys have been
together 18 to 20 years and then we have another newer group we had so many
musicians that were filling in Friday and Sunday nights that there we had an
excess of musicians and they formed a second band and they play on Saturday
nights and it’s kind of a Brazilian jazz pop band and then one of those musicians
the guitarist plays on Sunday morning from 9:00 to 11:00 so we actually have
jazz then Friday Saturday Sunday nights and the guitarist the plays on Sunday
morning okay yeah I’ve seen him here the guitarist on the Sunday mornings I
really like the stuff he does and I always know that those jaws nights for
me I’ve always been really unique and even to a lot of my friends especially
those who come out of stay and kind of just only been here for a year or so
we’ve always kind of taken the chance when we’ve had it to come down here and
watch jazz I know there’s not a lot of other places here in Tempe that I can
think of that you know you can really do that you can go down every week or so
and see some some jazz music live so I think that’s really cool
I think a really another kind of artistic and a piece of this place is
the local artists that you’ve Rick when we display on the walls
is that something that’s always been going on or did that start a little more
recently I suppose I think you know I couldn’t tell you exactly when I think
we’ve been doing it for well we’ve been doing I know for at least 15 16 years
and we’ve had gold bar for 18 years so yeah most of its existence we’ve had the
local art we do have for instance one photographer who’s exhibited every
December for 15 years and we have another artist who does our our Halloween our
October month and always has fun stuff and he’s been doing that for 15 years we
do schedule well in advance with the other artists and again they are all
local and right now we’ve got some beautiful art up that were real pleased
with it’s always really nice to can they see especially knowing that it’s all a
local artist over the years I’ve noticed you’re always open on Thanksgiving or
Christmas and I was wondering what’s the reason for doing so and you know why not
just take the day off what’s that our reason for doing that the first year we
had gold bar we realized that number one it’s a college town all college students
don’t have places to go on holiday and because Gold Bar has developed such a
nice community there are a lot of people that don’t have family around and this
is their family or their community and it gave them some place to come for an
hour or a couple of hours on a holiday morning and we don’t ask our employees
to work we work it ourselves and it just contributes to the gold bar family and
one thing I do on Christmas is I always bake two triple batches of my German
grandmother’s blitz kuchen which is a German coffee cake and there are people
that come just on Christmas because they’re in town visiting family and they
rush over to gold bar and say where’s the blitz kuchen so that makes it kind
of fun yeah I never need that hopped out of my truck this morning 7:00 to 11:00 pastries and pricing of the product
stuff oh absolutely we do have local bakeries
we’ve got three or four that we get product from and no one place has the
best of everything that’s why we have several one place has great scones one has great muffins one great has great specialty things and then as far
as our drinks aside from the Allen brothers coffee which I believe we’re
unique we’re the only ones in the state of Arizona or at least I know in the
valley that sell Allen brothers beans but things like our syrups and our mocha
is especially our chocolate we used to use Ghirardelli chocolate when we first
bought gold bar yeah and we had one of our distributors came in and we did a
blind taste test with that in another dark chocolate and the other dark
chocolate was so good that we’ve never looked back oh wow and I was telling
somebody this morning who got a white mocha we went through maybe a half a
dozen or so different white chocolates to find the one white chocolate that was
it was very distinctive that happened to be Ghirardelli so we’ve gone from
switching away from their dark chocolate but adding their white chocolate and we
try to the recipes have been particle bar forever we’ve got one thing that’s
kind of kind of unique and I’ve suggested it to other places friends
that are in the coffee business and I don’t know that any of them try to get
it for people who like dirty chais we started using our cold brew and making
chai toddies as well as dirty chai but that’s where we use the cold brew
whether it’s hot or iced and it makes it it gives it more caffeine less acid and
a real smooth taste and probably 80% of our dirty chai people have switch to
chai toddies so every now and then we’ll throw something out like that and try it
if it’s popular we keep it yeah I’m drinking dirty chai right now there you
go with three users with shots right yes
you ever tried the chai toddy? no no well now you know what to try and then
we have special days about Monday is pastry punch Monday so we do have punch
cards nine punches is a full card and on
Mondays well punch for food items yeah Wednesday is uber Wednesday where you
buy a 20 ounce drink and we up size it to our uber 24 ounce drink free and
Friday is add shot Friday so when you espresso drink you can have an extra
shot of espresso I I can’t say that I’ve had smoother coffee really elsewhere I
it’s a real kind of no habit of mine to go on vacation to the nearest coffee
shop I’ll get just a block cold brew like I
would here as you know and it’s just it’s never the same and I guess I know
there’s a lot of different ways of making cold brew and I was wondering
like I if you don’t mind sharing what is kind of the the technique you use to
make yours here well we’ll put we’ll put the course grounds fresh coffee
grounds into the water and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours and then
we double filter it and then we refrigerate it so it’s it’s really
pretty simple ya know there are a lot of other
processes but that’s the one we use it seems like it’s working well we like it
yeah and I also wanted to ask about I guess the the clientele it’s it’s so
kind of has such a range to it very diverse yeah you know I popped in and
I’ve seen old high school friends lying you know from McClintock here I’ve seen
friends of mine from ASU and I’ve seen you know pretty pretty prominent
political local political figures here what do you think really drives the
diversity within gold bar you know I think when new people come to gold bar
most often I would say that it’s word-of-mouth it’s been a friend that’s
brought them of course some people will search on yelp
once people come in here I think they like the community feel they like the
eclectic feel of it one thing that’s kind of unique to us as opposed to a lot
of coffee shops is that we don’t have pipe music going on all the time so for
people who like to study it’s quiet I think it’s the kind of place where once
you come a couple of times and you start to feel a part of it then the community
feel is what keeps you here I think one of the kind of best feelings I ever get
is when I show somebody gold bar and they they love it and I know I’ve had a
lot of friends who you know some of them you know are really wanting to go to the
Jazz night sometime really want to come here and grab the coffee where some of
them really want to go here and and study I know I still kind of that
impulse sometimes when I have a kind of long day of studying if the first place
always comes to mind is where I can go is gold bar I think something else that
I feel like gold bars who’s really cutting edge on that like other places
are just catching up is is tea I think this is probably the first place where I
realized it’s not just green black and white tea you know you have your tea
menu there it’s all the different flavors and like peach ginger and some
of the other ones what what was the process of coming up with some of those
flavors or kind of getting a diverse tea selection going well we get our teeth
and república tea which has a wonderful catalog an assortment of twos we bought
gold bar they had five teams that they and that was it and because I like back
then I didn’t drink as much coffee I probably drank more too you know it’s
whatever I’m in the mood for on a day-to-day basis
but I would look at that catalog and say let’s add that one and pretty soon we’ve
got 20 or 30 teas on our list and that’s what we have available so would you say
you have a favorite drink here is a change day by day I would say two of our
signature drinks would be the mocha speciale which is a dark chocolate mocha
made with half-and-half how to ice to me that’s the gold
standard for mochas and the granita which is like the frozen latte it’s a
little it’s about 40% espresso a little bit of sugar and then whole milk
and that’s our frozen drink we don’t do we don’t do frappuccinos kind of time
consuming and some of our shifts are one-man shifts and we also don’t do
smoothies we did smoothies for a number of years the trouble with the smoothies
were the mixes had so much sugar that I just gave me a guilty conscience when I
couldn’t make those we’d like to be a little bit health-conscious
we do have alternative milks and we’ve switched some out over the years but we
always have almond coconut soy and now we have oat milk so you know we keep
things like we’ll have quiche on the weekends we have yogurt on hand and
we’re always adding little extra things to our food menu as well as standards
that we always have like scones and muffins and pie when it’s available yeah
I would say um you know I remember back in high school I almost kind of lived
off those those chocolate was the cream cheese right muffins oh yes yeah I said
the chocolate the cream cheese filling those are yes those are pretty good hey
but I was like a four or five days a week before class I’d get my my cold
brew and I learned it really early on drinking coffee that you always have to
mix it with some sort of food sure and I always got that muffin there but I
would say that they definitely got got me through my senior yeah we’re glad we
could help there hope we can get you through college too you’re doing pretty
good so far is there anything else you’d like to add here for us gold bar is art
not just our job both my husband and I lives
just a couple blocks away one of us is here every day for part of the day
whenever if something comes up its me it needs to be done we’re able to just hop
right over here but it’s also our community of friends because we’d have
it for so long and because we’re here every day we develop friendships and
it’s amazing how many friendships not just with ourselves but with with our
baristas with other people how many other relationships form and I just love
that community aspect of gold bar what is the address for gold bar care gold
bars address is 31 41 South McClintock in Tempe and we’re on the northeast
corner of southern and McClintock right across from Ross there’s a chef store
here long hours here too – it’s always 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week and
we’re open on holidays sometimes like Christmas Easter Thanksgiving might just
be 7:00 to 11:00 in the morning we’re over here at gold bar with Karen
the co-owner and yeah if you’re looking for some great coffee and a good time
please swing by and with that I’m Liam Huggins with The State Press, have a good one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *