Although it just opened four months ago inside the MonOrchid Building, Songbird Coffee & Tea House has proved to be a real hot spot in downtown Phoenix. My friends and I often pass the cafe located at 214 E. Roosevelt St. on First Friday or when we’re driving out of downtown; however, we never went inside until about a week ago. This probably goes without saying, but I loved it. I also got to sit down with one of the owners and learn all about the cafe on Monday.
Erin Carroll, 30, and her husband are the founders and managers of Songbird. Carroll had always dreamed of owning a cafe.
“I love coffee houses,” she explained. “I was in a job that I didn’t like and then my husband lost his job, so it made sense to start our own business. It took a lot of planning though, and it was over a couple of years in the works.”
Songbird features locally roasted coffee and pastries, tea from Tucson and a local burrito chef. They also offer a handful of vegan options and specialty drinks such as an espresso spritzer, which is kind of like a carbonated coffee drink. Their full menu can be found online at songbirdcoffeehouse.com.
“We like having that connection to our products because we want to know who it’s coming from and have a relationship with them,” she said. “We also think supporting local products is a good thing to do.”
The coffee shop also strives to provide a comfortable atmosphere for its customers, according to Carroll who said she and her husband want people to stay and socialize, not just grab something and run out the door.
“We want to be a part of the community and offer a space for somebody to just come and get some work done or meet up with people over a cup of coffee,” she added.
The variety of free events they host and the art they showcase helps Songbird integrate itself into the community and is perfectly positioned on Roosevelt Row Arts District.
“We’ve done poetry readings, acoustic shows, storytelling and we even had a live rock concert last weekend,” she said.
“We want to give artists a place to show off their work and it’s nice to have rotating art in here,” Carroll said about the art on the wall that’s up for sale. “I think it’s important to keep art alive in the community because it gives people a purpose. And it’s a good way to connect to people.”
Since they are closed on Sundays and their hours are usually from 7 am to 7 pm, the majority of Songbird’s customers are young professionals and independent workers, but they are hoping to appeal to a wider range of people as well.
“There are a lot of really good cafes downtown, but what sets us apart is the relationships that we build with people since we’re so small,” Carroll said. “We also offer free Wi-Fi and would love for more students to come visit.”
Sophomore Regina Fanty, a student at Arizona State University, saw the cafe’s sign while they were still working on it and was intrigued by it, so she made sure to stop by once they opened.
“I love a good coffee shop,” Fanty explained. “It’s very quaint, and I love all the colors and the set up.”
Although there are many things that Fanty says attracted her to the cafe, she is a big fan of the “eclectic collection of books they have lining the walls for customers to read” and the menu made out of scrabble letters.
“I would definitely recommend it to other college kids,” she said. “Their coffee was delicious, it was also relatively quiet and easy to focus.”
While she hasn’t attended one of their events yet, she “most certainly” would like to go to one in the future. Fanty also expressed her appreciation for the art on the wall, saying she loves discovering new artists and Songbird is “a great place to do so.”
In order to better connect with people, Songbird is very active on Twitter and Facebook as well. They constantly post information about upcoming events and tons of discounts, like 75 cents off a drink or a dollar off burritos.