Residents of, and visitors to, the Penn Avenue corridor in Bloomfield/Garfield have suffered through months of torn-up streets and sidewalks. But a relaxing new space has emerged amid the rubble: Bantha Tea Bar.
It’s a cozy, funky storefront space, completely made over with clever design features — from a curved ceiling that lends a mini-cavern vibe, and a tile-mosaic floor, to a bar decorated with inset broken-glass pieces and footrest made from a trolley rail (reclaimed from the Penn Avenue construction debris).
Local is the watchword at Bantha, with mugs made by Ton Pottery, in Lawrenceville, and teas and baked goods coming from local purveyors, whenever possible. One tea source is Healcrest Urban Farm, just up the hill in Garfield. (Even the walls function as a display space for the wares of local artists.)
Jars of loose tea range from hearty “blacks,” like Scottish breakfast and the smoky lapsang souchong, to more herbal “greens,” including Chinese green tea and the Latin American favorite, yerba mate. A “medicinal” portion of the menu suggests teas to help one feel better: echinacea, rose hips and the hopefully named “Phlegm No More.” For those who’d rather have coffee, Bantha offers a French-pressed mug.
And yeah, the Penn Avenue construction is still banging away. But now you can sit in Bantha’s curved wooden bench seat by the garage-door windows, with a steaming mug of tea, and comfortably watch progress grind forward.
5002 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. 412-404-8359