No visit to Ithaca, NY would be complete without a brief stop at the locally famous coffee house and part time whiskey bar, Stella's. Stella's is located in the heart of Ithaca's bustling College Town on College Avenue. Stella's itself is separated in to two parts, the Coffee house and the Whiskey bar.
The Coffee House
The coffee house was the original Stella's and was opened in the early 1990s. It had an old European feel to it and quickly became the home to brooding writers, cynics, Marxist revivalists, and all other manner of people looking for a dark and smokey place in which to waste away the hours of their lives.
The coffee isn't the kind you get at most places. This coffee is made from high quality beans which are freshly ground, and turned in to a very dark and powerful brew that has become the hallmark of the Stella's community.
Of course there are many other coffee-based drinks to partake of. The fine folks at Stella's have come up with a selection that is rarely rivalled. The unique names and the blends of flavours give each drink its own character and distinct charm that is seldom reproduced in other establishments of this kind. Any regular will be able to write a lengthy essay on their favourite drink of choice explaining to you why it grabs them and inspires them.
Not to be a one pony show, the coffee house also provides a fine array of foods that are all reasonably priced. Like the selection of drinks, the foods have a special distinctness that make them an appetising experience.
The Whiskey Bar
The more recent addition to Stella's has been the Whiskey bar which took over the adjoining store in the mid 1990s. It took almost no time for the Whiskey bar side of Stella's to build up a group of regulars of their own (and some regulars have been known to cross-populate the two halves). While the one side focused on student would-be revolutionaries, the Whiskey bar reached out to the hipster, 1960s throw back community, and it also tried to reclaim those festive days when jazz reigned supreme on the music scene.
The drinks are definitely trendy and hip. They provide a wide range of alcoholic mixed beverages and are staffed by an all-in-black knowledgeable staff that knows just the drink you're looking for. Their Martinis aren't half bad, a sign of a truly sophisticated place. Of course they have the same wonderful selection of food that the other half offers, except the food tends to be better presented.
The downstairs part of the Whiskey bar is where the real fun begins. Downstairs are tables and a nice stage where many local and regional jazz bands come to bring their blend of music, playing to a crowd that really feels and understands it in that way only a hipster can. They also do a lot of spoken word stuff which gives them a reputation for high class and intelligent thought.
Each part of Stella's has a charm all of its own. While one half might not always be for everyone, the other one will generally reach out and grab you.