I’m at that point in the year where I need a change of scenery but I don’t want to (can’t afford to) spend any money. I want to get out of my house on the weekend, but I don’t want to spend money at the bar. I want to walk my dog 4x a day, but I definitely don’t want to spend more time than I have to navigating the icebergs that surround my front door. It’s like my body is telling me that winter hibernation is over, but Canada won’t budge.
So, what would be my happy medium? EUREKA! I decided an old love of mine, the long- forgotten coffee shop, could fill-in as my second home until nature stops being so cruel. There was only one problem : which one?
And with that, I set out on an adventure. I decided to explore 6 new coffee shops in the city in hopes of finding a new escape from the world that I could call my own.
My only concern worth noting was how would I dodge purchasing a coffee from each cafe I disrupted with my ooo’s and aaa’s and flash capture sound? I don’t even really drink coffee, and god knows if I have even a sip more than a cup past 10am I won’t be sleeping that night. Needless to say, by the third cafe I was jacked up on way more than life, and the simple question “would you like a coffee?” turned into a 15- minute conversation with me not shutting the f*ck up.
Need some non- alcoholic liquid confidence? The secret’s in the coffee bean.
OKAY, here they are:
I DEAL COFFEE
84 Naussau St. – Kensington Market
This place isn’t what I would recommend as a comfy study nook, but it definitely gives off those good, granola- girl morning vibes that the hippie in all of us is looking for at 8am. As a local roaster, they provide freshly roasted coffee beans on a consistent basis, as well as dealing exclusively in premium, fair trade, organic beans. The shop offers vegan treats, fresh roasted coffee by the pound, and an array of hot beverages made to order by the bra-less barista. An adorable place to add to your morning routine. This is the perfect summer morning spot to enjoy your cafe misto outdoors on the patio under the sun.
28 Kensington St. – Kensington Market
I am now OBSESSED with this place, it is perfect. Whether it is to study, to eat, to write or just to escape, Fika Cafe gets an A++ for feng shui & decor. Their aqua and white colour scheme is paired with exposed brick, fresh flowers and vintage accessories to fuel your creative side. They serve fresh baked goods, fluffy sandwiches and delicious hot drinks, including a lavender white hot chocolate which might be the a highlight of all hot drinks I have consumed this winter . The whole exterior is painted aqua, and their mascot, Dala the Fika Pony, can be found everywhere in the shop, including on their business cards and as homemade cookies. I cannot wait for Sunday where I plan to curl up here and guzzle hot bevy’s for hours until the sun sets. Perfect.
307 Augusta Avenue – Kensington Market
Another gemstone tucked away in Kensington market, this Cafe is the manlier version of Fika and is another perfect spot for being productive. They have a long bar at the front, and a whole array of seating in the back, as well as a back patio for the sunnier months. A hybrid between a coffee shop and a full- service bar, Cafe Pamenar sells great drinks, sweet treats, and serve made- to- order panini’s + fresh baguette for $3. An awesome hole in the wall for the early risers and night owls alike.
668 College West – Little Italy
College St. West of Bathurst never fails to surprise me with their boutique shops and unique restaurants, so it comes as no surprise that an awesome, Indie cafe like Empire can be found snuggled into this West end nook of Toronto. Empire is bright, bold and offers the coziest area to share a hot cocoa with a friend or two. Although small, the space is perfectly laid out, and the huge street front window lets in a beautiful amount of natural light. They sell your usual coffee shop staples, along with a healing ginger lemon tea for $5, delicious vegan options, and have recently begun selling homemade pretzels (nom nom). This place gives off the warmest positive vibes, and I highly recommend stopping in.
LE NEUF CAFE
9 Clarence Square – off Spadina, just South of Wellington
I am in shock that I have never even heard of this beautiful Parisian- inspired coffee shop & cafe. The whole space is exquisite, outside and in. It has high ceilings, stunning chandeliers, oversized mirrors, comfy white chairs, and a huge bay window letting in an almost surreal amount of sunlight. Although small, they manage to squish in 10 -15 tables comfortably, equipped with those kinds of chairs that you could curl up in and forget the world for a day. This is a space you don’t want to leave, and it is perfect for all those downtown condo dwellers who want an escape from the hustle & bustle of sardine- can downtown coffee shops. I didn’t get a chance to try the food, but I can only assume brunch at this place would be the perfect morning date. This is a truly incredible space, its a must- see.
LITTLE NICKY’S COFFEE SHOP
375 Queen Street West – SW Corner of Peter & Queen
With the entrance to Little Nicky’s being on Peter St, it makes it easy to miss this place while on your touristy Queen W weekend stroll. The space is nothing special. It’s dark inside with only about 6-8 places to sit down, but maybe that is a part of it’s charm. The space is quiet, the drinks are served large, cheap and quick, and no one is bombarding you with an overwhelming amount of kindness & smiles. If you want somewhere to hide without having to explain your reasonings, Little Nicky’s is the place.
Okay, there you Java it! It’s a latte, but I prefer my cup full …
If you’re interested in my favourite coffeeshop in the city, check out this post on CSI Coffee Pub. I gave my heart away to CSI a long time ago, once you step inside you will understand why. ❤
Happy Weekend-ing !