Acoustic Java Coffee Shop

by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2019

Local Food

Coffee as an Art Form in the Creative Capital

by Jennifer Villeda ’20 A&E Staff


The variety of cafés in Providence ranges from industrial spots with rustic decor, brick walls, and shelves filled with books, to those with white marble accents that scream Instagram vibes. Indeed, there appears to be no shortage. Yet, Acoustic Java popped up about a month ago onto the scene with an eclectic feel bringing coffee, music, and films together. It has brought a down-to-earth, artsy flair to the mix as it focuses on the artistic side of life with a cup of coffee in hand. 

The very name encompasses what the coffee scene was missing in Providence. David Fullerton, owner and CEO of Acoustic Java, describes the backstory of the name. “Behind the name is the underlying belief that great coffee is like great music, in that both are works of art. Our motto is, ‘As music tames the savage beast, coffee civilizes man unkind,’” he says.

The creative capital has a special place in Fullerton’s heart, as he spoke about how he decided on Providence for the third Acoustic Java. He already runs two successful cafes under the same name near Worcester, Massachusetts. He said, “When I first came to Providence in 1999, I fell in love with its rich history and unique brand of civic humanism.” When he learned of the closing of Cable Car Cinema, he thought back to his own memories. “I still remember having been deeply moved by the experience of seeing Zacharias Kunuk’s Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, a movie based on an Inuit legend there when my wife and I were still dating,” says Fullerton. Using his memories as fuel and his belief in the “coffeehouse experience,” he created something special.

The quaint café feels like it is taken from a novel, with quotes scattered throughout the seating area and one wall decorated with shelves of books you can purchase. The soft tunes flowing out of the sound systems and friendliness of the baristas make you feel welcomed into the space rather than rushed to finish your beverage and move on with your day. Fullerton and his team are dedicated “to the historic traditions of the coffeehouse as a third space and see the creation of welcoming environments as being central to our mission.” That is what sets Acoustic Java apart—they recognize the amount of time people want to spend in a coffee shop doing work and invite you to come and enjoy yourself without feeling self-conscious.

Stop by the Acoustic Java for classic tunes and their “awesome art house and first run independent movies” during the evenings and weekends. The ticket price for students is $8, which can be purchased on the website or in the café. If you visit during the day, take advantage of the “free movie café” where you can stream the movie for free through your phone and listen from your earbuds as you do work or chat with friends. Come by for a cup of their sustainably roasted coffee and pastries from local bakeries like Seven Stars Bakery and Providence Bagel.