I took a break from my beloved Keurig today and found myself in Gallery Espresso, a coffee shop nestled in the heart of downtown Savannah on Bull and E. Perry streets. Guarded by outdoor tables with red umbrellas, the Central Perk-stylized shop feels cozy with its oversized chairs, red rugs and exposed brick walls.
I order a white chocolate cappuccino from a barista who glares at me like he knows all of my secrets.
"One shot or two?" he asks me, still glaring and barely lifting his chin.
"Just one please," I reply.
"That'll be $4.55."
Aside from the barista, who I will assume has been on his feet for 8 straight hours and is far too exhausted to find his manners, the shop is inviting. And Gallery Espresso is just that--an art gallery that serves espresso (as well as wine, coffee, tea and various pies and snacks) or perhaps more so an espresso bar that sells art. While I found the pieces hanging on the walls to be too abstract to hold any value, perhaps you'll enjoy the paintings for sale. (But be sure to bring your checkbook, the canvases start at $1,200.) Opposite the "gallery walls" are wraparound windows that allow for plenty of natural light for those who come to Gallery Espresso to sketch while the light, almost inaudible radio won't distract those typing away at their computers.
My cappuccino is warm and smooth, and although barely reminiscent of white chocolate, I'm perfectly fine with the French vanilla taste. If there was only one good thing about the barista, at least it was that he knows how much foam on a drink is just enough.
I sit at a wooden table positioned underneath an ugly, Jackson Pollock inspired painting. The space itself is eclectic to say the least, full of mismatched furniture and customers. The clientele, both female and male, vary in age from 20 to about 45-years-old. While I sit here in the corner of this shop, I noticed one French, several Chinese and a handful of eastern European coffee lovers, all speaking their respective languages. Meanwhile, the barista who made my drink sulks around the shop, occasionally staring me down, definitely picturing my demise in his mind.
Luckily, my thick, northern skin can handle brutish customer service so I'll happily return for another mildly overpriced, not-so-white-chocolate white chocolate cappuccino because of Gallery Espresso's snug, intimate atmosphere.