Airship at The Homestead can only be reached via a trail
Airship at The Homestead can only be reached via a trail

More than caffeine: 3 surprising coffee shops in NWA

Northwest Arkansas boasts an impressive selection of fantastic brewers and baristas who serve delicious coffee in cozy and vibrant community spaces. Here are three coffee shops serving up more than caffeine.

Coffee and climbing at Boulders and Brews in Fayetteville, Ark.Boulders and Brews

Boulders and Brews is all about rock climbing and coffee. This unusual combination strays from the normal vibe of coffee houses, where people pop open laptops and books while they infuse themselves with caffeine. While you can study and work here too, you can also take advantage of the 3,600 square feet of climbing surface.

It is bouldering only. Indoor climbing walls range from around 8 to 15 feet tall and the climb, unassisted by ropes, takes place over thickly padded floors that cushion the impact of a fall. The traditional bouldering wall routes at Boulders and Brews range in skill level for beginners to advanced climbers.

Located at the edge of the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, the gym sees men and women, newbies and advanced climbers using the facility.

Like the climbing, they take their coffee offerings seriously as well. They serve coffee from local Eight Nineteen Coffee Roasters. In addition to coffee, they serve a few snacks, matcha and tea. Everything is sourced local. Fayetteville’s Pink House Alchemy provides syrups and the tea comes from Savoy Tea Co.

Airship at The Homestead in Bentonville, Ark.Airship Coffee Bar and Homestead

Airship at The Homestead in Bentonville is a micro-cafe and beverage bar housed in a spectacular modern building that is only accessible via a trail. This coffee purveyor sells excellent locally roasted coffees, tea, delicious kombucha and craft beer. Airship’s small food menu includes pastries, tacos, barbecue nachos and vegan options. It has several seating options - a beer garden by the hillside, a rooftop bar, and an area with seating and rope swings covered overhead but open at the front.

The coffee bar is within the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve, a bike park and trail system of more than 17 miles that also connects to more than 250 miles of natural surface trails in Northwest Arkansas. Coler also has a camping facility offering 22 campsites, secure restrooms and hot showers.

Airship is a short walk away from the campsites. Open grassy areas and paved paths leading to Airship are often filled with kids, adults and dogs, biking, running and walking. A non-traditional play area adds to the ideal vibe. An old Ozark barn has been refurbished to serve as a play structure. Light streams through the wood slats as kids climb lofts and run around inside. A second wood structure contains a neon sign reading “Paradise Found,” not that you need a sign to tell you that you’re somewhere special.

Two parking lots are located slightly less than a mile from the cafe, which is wheelchair accessible. There’s a feeling of remoteness here even though this outdoor space is near the city square.

Park at the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve South Gateway on NW Third St. or the Coler Creek Park North Gateway on Peach Orchard Road. (Enter either name into Google Maps.) For a trail map, click here

The cat room at The Third SpaceThird Space Coffee

Third Space serves O-Gah-Pah coffee, roasted by the Quapaw nation in Joplin, Missouri. Owners say it's important to them to serve Indigenous roasted coffee on the ancestral land of Quapaw Nation. the first fully plant-based coffee shop in Bentonville, it offers baked gluten free and vegan goods. No animal products are used to make any items on the menu. Order at the window, then sit inside, outside or even in a cat room. Yes, a cat room.

Locally owned and independently operated, Third Space is located inside Best Friends Pet Resource Center in Bentonville. Best Friends is a pet adoption center changing not only the idea of what a shelter facility looks like and offers but also the concept of how animals are cared for and adopted. The pets that are up for adoption at Best Friends don’t live in kennels or cages at the shelter. Instead, they live in homes with foster families. At least, most of them do. Go online to see photos of the animals that need a home. Let the Center know which one you’re interested in, then, set up a time to go to the shelter and meet the cat or dog.

Some of the cats do live at Best Friends. Two cat rooms with ledges and cubby holes of all shapes and sizes serve as their playground and cat-napping areas. Visitors can go into the rooms to pet and play with them. Some people even pop open their laptops in the cat rooms to work while the cats lounge around them. Each cat room has a back room the felines can escape to if they don’t want to socialize with people.

Visitors can also play with the cats from outside the cat room. A large viewing window has several cat toys on sticks piercing it. People can move the sticks around from the outside for the cats that are inside.

Best Friends’ coffee shop, animal petting rooms, slide to the downstairs, tables and chairs, crafts area, comfy couches and free WiFi have people flocking to the place to hang out or work remotely.

So order a coffee and enjoy the company of some furry friends in your “third space,” which refers to the concept that divides life into three categories of where people spend their time - home, work and in the community. The Third Space is definitely a third space for community members who love coffee and cats.

For information on volunteer opportunities, adoption and events to meet animals available for adoption, visit