As every corner of every metroplitan city fills up with “that green mermaid coffee shop”, there are places that strive (and achieve) to be original and cozy.
Owned by a select few of big-minded people, these cafés are able to build truly lovely spaces. Some are made to work in, some are made to play, but all of them have the awesome factor down pat.
No matter what side of Toronto you live in (or if you’re just visiting), we give you our top picks for lovely cafés that will truly make an afternoon wonderful. Just be sure to follow proper coffee shop manners!
Academy of Lions
The Ossington Ave community hub recently re-opened up this past year to be not only a place to get fit, but also to meet friends and go shopping.
With the addition of the AoL General Store, you can now stop by and grab up an Americano while picking up some running shoes. Oh and did I mention that they run a kick-butt Cross-Fit program among others?
64 Ossington Ave.
A new addition to Dundas St. West, the people over at The Arrow have it right. Serving coffee all the time and ice cream in the summer is enough to make any Trinity Bellwoods go-er a happy camper.
With winter coming, pop by for a delicious latte and chocolate cookie.
1164 Dundas St. West
As Parkdale continues its (luckily slow) gentrification, Capital is the perfect mix of low key and fantastical.
With a little section with toys for the kids and enough entertainment outside of the window on Queen St., café patrons can grab a lovely coffee and enjoy the last bits of sun.
1349 Queen St. West
Fahrenheit Coffee is in the perfect spot for those in the downtown core, especially if coming/going from the east end.
Located in a tiny but cool space, Fahrenheit churns out mean espresso (keep in mind they don’t have drip coffee, so stick to an Americano for a dairy-free fix).
120 Lombard Ave.
Good Times Bad Times
With a serious vintage vibe and incredibly helpful staff, Good Times Bad Times is the place to stop for a Chai tea en route to Value Village.
Delicious treats and amazingly reasonable prices mean that you CAN have your cake and eat it too.
1421 Bloor St. West
Jimmy’s coffee is a personal fave because of the wicked decor. With a TV screen showing the news and weather at all times and a rack full of games, newspapers and magazines (Scrabble/Vogue, anyone?), a visit to Jimmy’s is always a good time.
Every wall has images of famous Jimmys to look over you while you enjoy your cappucino and Kit Kat bar, so you really can’t go wrong. Just be sure not to talk on your phone while talking to the baristas – they REALLY don’t like that.
107 Portland St.
One of the best shops in Leslieville, Mercury dishes phenomenal espresso at a magical rate, 6:30am to 8pm every weekday (and don’t worry, they’re open on weekends too).
The decor is classic espresso bar and the staff are awesome (exhibit A: one of their baristas were profiled on blogTO.com).
915 Queen St. East
A daily stop for us piccsy folk has been Rapido, where co-owner Marco and his team of wonderful ladies whip up delicious coffees/teas and ridiculously tasty lunches in a gorgeous space.
The food in the café comes from their sister company, Santaguida Catering, so that corned beef sandwich you just ate was actually smoked a few blocks away by Marco and his brother Carlos. Nom nom nom.
1089 Bathurst St.
With 3 locations in the east end between Danforth and Dundas, you can get your coffee fix courtesy of Red Rocket at any point in your day.
A cozy interior and enough electrical outlets for everyone, pop by one of their spots to get yourself set up in a corner to work on your current project (just be sure to remember those coffee shop manners – see top of page)
1364 Danforth Ave, 154 Wellesley St. East, 401 Logan Ave.
Open 7 days a week this mid-town destination has the coolest website and an equally cool environment. Located in Yorkville, you may think it’s going to be pretentious and over priced right?
Wrong on both accounts. The people behind Seven Grams have created a space for reading, grabbing one to go and everything in between.
131 Avenue Rd.
Thor Espresso Bar
Thor is a one stop shop for snacks, coffee and (and as of this week) smoothies. With a fantastically friendly staff and a tasty selection of teas an afternoon pick me up quickly turns into an afternoon euphoria.
Located just south of the Thompson Hotel, keep in mind this ain’t your local “green mermaid coffee shop”; these kids close at 6pm.
35 Bathurst St.
Have YOU been to any of these cafés? Let me know what you thought in the comment section below!