First Look: Urban Alchemy Aims to Bring a Little Uptown to Downtown Arlington

A cappuccino and French press coffee from Urban Alchemy + Wine Bar
A cappuccino and French press coffee from Urban Alchemy + Wine Bar Paige Weaver
Urban Alchemy Coffee + Wine Bar is a recent addition to downtown Arlington. It opened in February behind Shipley Do-Nuts, near the University of Texas at Arlington campus.

Owner Tony Rutigliano ran the Downtown Arlington Management Corp. for six years, and his work there led him to open Urban Alchemy.

“I was thinking about what downtown needed and immediately fell on a wine bar and coffee shop. Arlington really doesn’t have anything like it — where people can hang out. I wanted to bring a little Uptown Dallas to downtown Arlington. Something a little swankier but not pretentious.”

Inside, Urban Alchemy is both industrial and cozy, with leather couches, armchairs, tables and bar seating. It will begin work on a patio soon. The service is attentive and friendly. As soon as we sat down, a barista came to take our order. You can also order to-go items at the register.

click to enlarge A little of Uptown Dallas in Arlington, minus the pretention - PAIGE WEAVER
A little of Uptown Dallas in Arlington, minus the pretention
Paige Weaver
The coffee menu is straightforward and classic; you won’t find sugary, designer coffees at Urban Alchemy. Get a cortado ($3), Americano ($2.50), latte ($4 for 12 ounces) or cold brew over ice ($3.5 for 12 ounces).

“We work with a roaster in Grand Prairie. They helped us craft our own unique blends. The blends you taste here are different than anyone else’s,” Rutigliano says.

There's also hot chocolate with housemade chocolate sauce ($2.75 for 8 ounces), hot and iced teas, Topo Chico ($3) and kombucha on tap ($5.50).

“We’re not a restaurant, but we needed to develop a menu that would help us get through the day and be easy for us to produce. We wanted to put together a menu that’s a little bit different than what’s in Arlington already,” Rutigliano says.

click to enlarge Urban Alchemy's goal was to be a hangout for Arlington. - PAIGE WEAVER
Urban Alchemy's goal was to be a hangout for Arlington.
Paige Weaver
For breakfast, try a pastry from local Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery, steel cut oatmeal with dried fruit ($4) or the egg sandwich, with pancetta, lettuce, tomato and a lemon thyme vinaigrette ($10).

Many things on the menu are meant for sharing, like hummus and veggies ($8.50), popcorn ($2), garlic and herb spread with crostini ($5), and a charcuterie with various cheeses and meats. For a heartier meal, Urban Alchemy offers three sandwiches and three salads.

The breadth of the wine list is impressive. On it, you’ll find wines from Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, France, Italy and Australia. Order wine by the glass (6- or 9-ounce pours) or by the bottle.

Rutigliano worked with a sommelier to develop the list.

“I knew right away I wasn’t an expert on wine. I needed help to be certain that our wine list fit the Arlington taste profile. We wanted a selection would meet anyone’s palate and be affordable,” he says.

Rutigliano is most proud of the community he’s creating with Urban Alchemy.

“We’re trying to build an urban core in Arlington by bringing people together. An alchemist used to take ordinary things to make something special. I want to take ordinary people and create something special downtown.”

Urban Alchemy + Wine, 403 E. Main St., Arlington, 817-617-2054
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Paige Weaver
Contact: Paige Weaver