Catalyst Coffee Bar: A Hybrid Art Gallery and Coffee Shop for a Cause
Though it’s often overlooked unless you live or work Downtown, Catalyst Coffee Bar is one of the most beautiful coffee bars in St. Louis thanks to its conjunction with Art Saint Louis, a nonprofit organization that fosters the enrichment of local artists. The program has existed for 35 years and the space was solely a gallery until 2016, when Catalyst, a multi-roaster café, was added. The café offers a sustainably sourced rotation of beans from roasters across the nation, along with a pour-over bar, an espresso blend that is custom roasted by Community Beans and baked goods from Whisk, a sustainable bakeshop on Cherokee Street.
Located just two blocks away from the Stiefel Theatre, the coffee bar is filled with elaborate paintings and pieces of art, each one created by a local artist. The exhibitions at Art Saint Louis are competition-based, and every painting has earned its place on the wall as a different set of jurors selects each piece of art for its rotating galleries every five weeks. More than 1,700 works of art are submitted, and only the top 20 percent are shown in the space. The artists then choose whether or not to sell the art and set their own prices.
The organization often hosts events and gallery openings, and all exhibits are free and open to the public. Every dollar raised from Catalyst, the events and the exhibits goes back to Art Saint Louis and the artists it supports.
If you need one more reason to visit, on Saturday, April 20, there is a free opening reception for the upcoming exhibit “Outliers,” featuring new works of art by 36 regional artists from Missouri and Illinois, from 5 to 7 p.m. and a free Artists Gallery Talk on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m.
Art Saint Louis is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and closed on Sundays. Visit the Art St. Louis online calendar for more information on exhibits and events.
Images courtesy of Greg Barth.