Places like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, and Second Cup always have your back when you’re in a pinch, but there’s nothing like discovering a new and unique spot to enjoy your cup of joe. Big chain brands don’t compare to the quaint and homey coffee shops that fill downtown Toronto.
Looking for a new place to enjoy a warm drink during the cold months? Here is a list of some of Toronto’s most recent cafes to check out.
Rooster Coffee House
With two cafes already located in Riverdale and on King East, Rooster Coffee House expanded its chain in Toronto by opening another spot on Jarvis earlier this year. Rooster is known for its unique decor and exceptional coffee, particularly their flat white.
With sandwiches, freshly pressed juices, and an array of delicious pastries to choose from, Rooster is also a good choice for lunch, on top of being a key coffee spot.
Opened just under a year ago at 460 King Street West, Quantum Coffee gave life to the heritage building that had undergone multiple transitions in the past. The cafe has a minimalist feel, with a seating section in the back that provides a great spot to study or read a book.
Although the prices are a little up there, Quantum puts enough care and design into their drinks to make it worth it. This place also became known for using the first automated pour steady machine in Canada, which is a machine that pours perfectly calibrated pour overs.
Press Books, Coffee & Vinyl
Located on the Danforth, Press serves as a record store, a used book store, and a coffee shop all in one. Also offering a collection of used VHS and DVDs, be prepared for minimal seating. This is more of a walk-around-and-browse cafe, with coffee and a delicious scone in hand while perusing through endless collections of vinyl and books.
The Paint Cabin
The Paint Cabin doubles as a coffee shop and an art studio, with a variety of art classes being offered everyday. This is a great place to go with friends on a Friday night for a few drinks, while also enjoying a painting class together. Outside of scheduled workshops, the Paint Cabin also serves as an espresso bar with a wide menu of drinks and exceptional coffee.
See-Scape carries a similar vibe to the front lobby of Laser Quest, with a fun, eclectic atmosphere that is sure to awaken your inner child.
This place has a video game lounge that has consoles such as Xbox360, GameCube, and Super Nintendo, as well as shelves of board games that you can play tucked away inside themed booths. The walls are also decorated with riveting works of art that add the perfect touch to the already awesome cafe.
Krave Coffee is exactly what St Clair West needed — a warm, modern cafe with exceptional service, great vibes, and a delicious menu. You can’t go wrong with a cafe that uses Sam James coffee.
Not a coffee drinker? Their warm apple cider is also very delicious, and perfect for those cold November days. Krave also has plenty of seating, and serves as a good place to read or do some studying.
Gloria Espresso Bar and Cafe
This charming cafe located at Dundas West and Roncesvalles has a lot of character and provides a cozy, warm spot for coffee drinkers. With a menu that ventures beyond hot beverages, Gloria’s offers a variety of lunches, particularly sandwiches, that are sure to satisfy even the biggest of appetites.
Don’t let Pape Avenue’s The Shmooz fool you with its name – this place is more sophisticated than it sounds. With exposed pipe, wood countertops, and a beautiful wall-sized mural, The Shmooz has a humble and warm ambiance that makes it unique.
Sam James Coffee Bar
After opening three locations in Toronto, including a PATH location, one on Toronto St, and the OG spot on Harbord, a fourth Sam James Coffee Bar was installed in the Spring of 2016 directly across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park. Sam James’ new location near Trinity Bellwoods is minimalist and nakedly decorated, with a large, spacious floor and a simple bench that lines the wall for seating.
Sam James coffee is quickly gaining popularity in Toronto, with multiple cafes already using it, such as Krave on St Clair West. Their coffee is exquisite and will impress any coffee drinker.
The Coffee Lab
Located in Willow Books in the Annex, the Coffee Lab is a fun cafe that is actually designed like a lab, with test tubes filled with beans and other coffee-related items decorating the counter. Customers are encouraged to choose their drink by sniffing different coffee beans and learning about each type before ordering. The Lab’s desserts are also worth making a stop by this cafe to taste.
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Image via The Shmooz