Thor provides a nice dose of design inspiration paired with a lovely latte from their impressive “Slayer” espresso machine (using a custom blend of Social beans). It’s a small space with clean Scandinavian design influences. My kind of place. It’s located on Bathurst south of King.
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Comfortable furnishings, cozy wooden surfaces and exposed brick walls characterize the new Darkhorse Espresso Bar in Queen West.
The coffee is as consistently good as at the other locations. They still have their signature huge communal table geared toward picking-up while reading. Same delicious baked goods that you can get all over the city. No grilled sandwiches yet – but I bet they’re coming.
Although three shops puts Dark Horse firmly in the category of ‘chain’ the spaces still feel delightfully individual and satisfy the need for some nice neighbourhood hangouts to indulge in.
A great new hangout has opened it’s doors in Parkdale. Capital Espresso offers a beautiful sunlit space to muffin eaters, coffee and tea drinkers alike. The corner space has high ceilings, a chunky wood bar, wood tables and exposed brick. The music that wafts through the air is current and delightful. They offer free wifi but few places to charge your laptop. Makes for a lovely morning. They are open from 7 to 7 on weekdays and 8 to 7 on weekends.
Cafe Novo is a lovely little spot to stop in and do some reading while drinking a nice hot beverage. It’s a recent addition to Bloor Street across from the High Park, making it a very convenient stop en route to the playground. They make homemade scones and other delicious looking baked goods on the premises. Yumm. There is a big table in the back, and free wifi making it a nice work spot as well.
Enoteca Sociale brings you the quality of food that you find at Pizzaria Libretto with less pizza and more homemade pasta and italian grandma’s cooking. The owners of Libretto opened up this new spot on Dundas earlier this year and it took me a while to check it out… but when I did I thought it was quite charming. It’s a social neighbourhood wine bar with delicious food. The environment is casual and unpretentious, with an old school italian tile floor and cozy finishing touches.
Te Aro’s outpost on Ossington called ‘Crafted‘ is exactly that. And finely crafted, I might add. Their first café and coffee roastery on Queen Street East was very well received by the coffee community and now the west-end has it’s own cafe to enjoy.
The espresso drinks and decor are wonderful. The store also houses an innovative gizmo that looks like a bunch of glass test tubes and beakers connected together. It percolates coffee without heat to create the perfect iced espresso beverage. Science. I like it.
And last but not least, there is also a fabulous little patio on days when the sun is shining.
Try it. You’ll like it.
Someone couldn’t resist responding to the ‘post no bills’ prohibition on this boarded up west-end construction site.
Can you name them all these happy guys?
Spotted on Annette Street near High Park Ave.
Freedom is a wonderful shop and artist collective. Self-described as “a non-profit volunteer-run cooperative committed to supporting local and eco-friendly artists and designers,” Freedom is full of unique art by emerging local artist, designers, and artisans. They sell everything from elegant and fun clothing, to jewelry, paintings, kids stuff and furniture.
I found the pieces to be inspiring and very reasonably priced. I bought myself a great blouse for a steal and got numerous compliments on it. My girlfriend bought a skirt and also got a lot of positive feedback. Shopping there makes you feel good about supporting local emerging artists, and you are also keeping the carbon footprint of your purchase small.
Check it out: Freedom Clothing Collective, located in Toronto’s Bloorcourt neighbourhood.
The O&B Canteen on the ground floor of the TIFF Lightbox is a beautiful airy space. It has high ceilings and glass walls that slide open to bring the fresh air in. Natural wood chairs, wine and comfort foods make the site warm. Check out this find at the corner of King and John before the film festival turns it into a madhouse.