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Caffe Vivace is a coffee shop by day and a jazz lounge by night. Husband-and-wife duo Brent Gallaher and Vanessa Keeton opened the cafe (which is located on the ground floor of the Trevarren Flats building in Walnut Hills) earlier this spring. ADDRESS: 975 E. McMillan Street 45206 / Image: Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 6.29.18

From Cappuccino To Coltrane, Caffe Vivace Has All Its Bases Covered

As a non-coffee drinker, it’s taken me a long time to understand the value of coffee shops. For years, whether I was trying to “get it” or not, I just didn’t. Then, something changed.

I can finally see a coffee shop as something that offers more than coffee. Much more. It’s a gathering space. It’s, in effect, the life & breath of the neighborhood for which it serves.

So to Caffe Vivace, the newest coffee shop on the E. McMillan block of Walnut Hills, I wish you a warm welcome.

Patience pays off

Husband-and-wife duo Brent Gallaher and Vanessa Keeton are the proprietors of Caffe Vivace. Initially, they wanted to open a jazz lounge in College Hill. Why jazz? Gallaher is a longtime musician and Keeton has dabbled in that realm as well, though she's kept her day job as a front-end web developer. But anyway, the jazz lounge concept in College Hill did not work out.

Sometimes things aren’t meant to be because we’re waiting for something better to come along. Brink Brewery is in the site where they looked in College Hill. And Caffe Vivace, nearly two years after the idea of opening a place formed a thought bubble in their minds, is on the ground floor of the Trevarren Flats in Walnut Hills.

From cappuccino to Coltrane

During the day, Caffe Vivace serves as a great place for meetings or productive laptop work. The ambiance is “warm but not busy,” explains Gallaher. “The architectural features of the building are classic. We put quite a few modern features on top of that, with the color palette and rope lighting.”

Beyond a delicious cup of brew, the beans of which are supplied by Carabello Coffee, Vivace also has a variety of food options. You can enjoy flatbreads, breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, and more. Or you can always pop next door and dive into some barbecue from Just Q’in.

Once five o’clock hits and you’re ready to transition from work mode to play mode, order a Manhattan. Or a beer. Pick your poison and relax. Grab a seat by the piano and unwind.

Unwind to the sounds of Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk or, better yet, unwind to the sounds of the Blue Wisp Jazz Band, Mandy Gaines, and the Jeremy Long Quartet. (And others.) The last three in the list are local acts, the types of performers and performances you can see Wednesday through Saturday at Caffe Vivace. Then, 'Round Midnight you can turn into a pumpkin and go to bed dreaming about that egg & white cheddar croissant (peep the photo gallery) while hitting your REM cycle that's snoozing away to a soundtrack of Nina Simone's greatest hits.

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Caffe Vivace is located at 975 E. McMillan Street (45206).