Waiting for a concert, a music lesson, a well-cultured friend or perhaps just a bus outside Eastman Theatre, many UR students have found themselves pondering one of two things: whether in fact they did hear gunshots from Chestnut Street or whether or not their fingers really will fall off due to hypothermia from the cold. Then, walking down Gibbs Street and rising from the depths of their gloom, they spot Java’s Caf&- cozy, busy, artsy and safe.
Java’s is well-known among UR students, first and foremost because of its location. The caf is nestled into the side of Eastman Theatre, like a colony of aphids those little bumps that grow off of leaves that are actually plant lice budding off a much bigger, easily recognizable plant.
Java’s is like an aphid in more ways than one it not only feeds off the side of Eastman, but it also is an entire microcosm of life itself. Opening two sets of narrow, dilapidated double doors, you are immediately face-to-face with a den of coffee mugs, muffins, magazines, animal prints, exotic masks, chairs, drink lists, half-eaten cookies, syrups, zebra heads and people.
It is loud, both visually and audibly. Music (usually reggae) provides a background for the chatter, orders, banging of coffee cups and espresso machine steam that rattle around the room.
One question comes to mind: How can there be so much stuff in one space? Regardless of how many times you go to Java’s, you will find something new: a portrait, a quote, a statue. There are entire rooms you don’t even realize are there. For instance, there is a tea room through a doorway on the right and a basement, complete with restrooms (very useful) and a pool table (much less-commonly used). It took me four years to realize that there was a grand piano on the left-hand side of the room, buried underneath potted plants!
With African masks, zebras, statues of fish and broken drums adorning the walls and ceiling, it’s easy to miss the beverages themselves. They are average to above average in taste and price.
Try the chai its claim to fame is being the only real chai served in Rochester. My favorite drink would be the iced lattes unlike anywhere else, Java’s adds steamed milk to the top of the drinks, while the rest of the drink is chilled.
Important tip: unless you plan on getting a lot to eat or drink, bring cash. Java’s has a $5 minimum on credit and debit charges.
When you go to Java’s, you are paying for so much more than the coffee and snacks. You are buying a ticket to a museum, an African safari ride, a back-stage pass to chill with some rising musician, a movie ticket to see a romantic comedy about the most awkward (lesbian) blind date ever. It’s all in there.
My favorite knicknack in Java’s? The two gun-toting policemen who come in to sip lattes and relax on their coffee break. You can usually catch them in early afternoon, sitting in pleasant resignation at a small round table, staring at nothing in particular besides people they don’t want to arrest and coffee they don’t want to finish because then it’s back to work. Only in Rochester can you find policemen in a real caf instead of a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Java’s is located at 16 Gibbs Street, also just down the road from the Eastman Living Center, the last stop on the Red Line bus. For more information, visit http://www.javascafe.com.
Ryan is a member of the class of 2009.