Solar café by day, Sky Bar by night

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Jesus Barrera | The Daily Wildcat

Todd Holes (left) and Maricela Rodriguez (right) drink their daily coffee at Sky Bar on Monday. Sky Bar is a solar-powered café during the day.

Students walking down Fourth Avenue may have noticed an odd-looking restaurant that has solar panels coating its roof and neighboring parking lot. This unique building is known as Sky Bar, which serves as a café by day and an astronomy bar by night. The restaurant has nightly astronomy shows, where they display deep space images taken from their own telescopes.

“If the weather is clear, we put [the telescopes] out on our patio for customers to view the stars and planets,” employee Devon Duhart said.

The restaurant is home to three different telescopes that reside on the top of the building and a stargazers’ patio where patrons can sit outside and look up at the night sky as they enjoy their meal and drinks. All bartenders at Sky Bar are briefed on how to run the telescopes, but there are also three resident astronomers who deal with the more complicated aspects of the machines.

Sky Bar was created with a specific environmental purpose in mind. Wanting to minimize its carbon footprint as much as possible, it was made to run by solar power.

“Making it revolve around astronomy simply came from the concept of imagining going out with friends and family and being able to see Jupiter or one of the moons of Saturn,” Duhart said. “Sounds pretty unique and amazing, right?” 

Sky Bar hosts multiple events each month, with most occurring weekly. One of the more popular events is the Open Mic Night, held every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to midnight.

“The best local and traveling talent flock through our doors for their chance on our main stage to show everyone what they are made of,” the Sky Bar website states. “Our host, MC 3D, welcomes our participants and helps them set everything up from solo acoustic acts all the way to full on bands.”

Occasionally, several big bands will begin the night, acting as a sort of lead-in to Thursday night’s live music lineup. Open Mic Night is free to the public, and all styles of music are welcome. 

Other common events at Sky Bar include game nights, pool tournaments, team trivia, family evenings and live bands.

“This unique Tucson café and bar is 100 percent solar-powered and is outfitted with powerful telescopes, so you can observe the cosmos after dark,” USA Today’s 10Best article states. “Plus, there are even DSLR photography nights where you can bring a camera and snap amazing pictures of the night skies.”

Since Sky Bar is located in close proximity to the UA, and because it becomes a bar at night, it shows UA basketball and football games, in addition to all other major sporting events, such as the World Series or the Superbowl.

Be it day or night, there’s always something going on at Sky Bar.

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Follow Chelsea Cook on Twitter.


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