The Best Toronto Cafe Workspaces

In a world where remote work is becoming the new norm, ‘anywhere’ is now the new office. And while this lifestyle sounds pretty sweet, it comes with its own intricacies. The biggest challenge for independent workers is setting boundaries; when there’s barely any physical separation between work and home, the mental line separating work from life begins to blur.

Co-working spaces are one of the options filling this need, and they’re pretty. You know the ones - exposed brick lofts with wooden beams re-purposed from old rail tracks, a private cafe with beer on tap, vintage furniture, ping pong tables … the works. The works comes with a steep price tag, though: up to $500/month.

Maybe the rent or mortgage you’re already paying is enough for one month. Maybe you just need a change of scenery once in awhile to get the creative juices flowing. Maybe all you need is a good coffee shop.

No, this isn’t new or groundbreaking, but as you must have figured out the last time you went from one place to the next, trying to find an adequate seat or wifi connection, not all coffee shops are meant for the mobile office.

To sort through the coffee clutter, we’ve designed a patent-pending map to help you locate and park your mobile office. Again, not all coffee shops are created equal - in order to make the list, certain criteria had to be met in order to make “the list”:

  • Good coffee (because life's too short to drink bad coffee)
  • Ample seating and table space
  • Free and good wifi
  • Sufficient electrical outlets
  • Reasonable noise level
  • Productive and inspiring atmosphere
  • Decent lighting
  • Good and accommodating service that is ok with you sitting there as long as you need to

Now, if we didn’t set geographical boundaries, this list would never end. Being downtown-dwellers who walk, bike, and TTC everywhere, we made the decision to limit this list to places south of Bloor, east of Keele, west of Coxwell, and north of, well, the water!

After spending hours working away at these spots ourselves and pouring over “best of” lists, our shortlist still felt incomplete. After all, we do have a pretty good coffee scene here in Toronto. So, we reached out to some of Toronto’s best Instagrammers to contribute with their favourite spots and their beautiful photos.

To kick it off, here are the 3 Spoons Top 3. Click on the thumbnails to learn more.

Coffee List - from West to East

Click on the images to view them in all their glory.

1. REUNION ISLAND COFFEE BAR

Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles

Address: 385 Roncesvalles Ave

What You’re Working On: Editing flat-lay photos of latte art for your popular Instagram account.


2.    THE TEMPERED ROOM

Neighbourhood: Parkdale

Address: 1374 Queen St W

What You’re Working On: A comparative blog post of the top artisan pastries in the city.


Photo by @ozols 

3.    CRAFTED BY TE ARO

Neighbourhood: Trinity-Bellwoods

Address: 135 Ossington Ave

What You’re Working On: Financial modeling for your custom moustache wax storefront.


Photo by @willteeyang

4.    TAMPERED PRESS

Neighbourhood: Trinity-Bellwoods

Address: 256 Crawford St

What You’re Working On: The living room reno plans for your tiny home concept.


Photo by @didieryhc

5.    EARLY BIRD ESPRESSO

Neighbourhood: Queen West

Address: 613 Queen St W

What You’re Working On: A meta analysis on the effects of different coffee preparations on meta analyses.


6.    QUANTUM COFFEE*

Neighbourhood: King West

Address: 460 King St W

What You’re Working On: The business plan for your fin-tech start-up.

*When the back section is open.


7.    JIMMY’S COFFEE

Neighbourhood: Kensington Market

Address: 191 Baldwin St

What You’re Working On: The business plan for your cannabis dispensary start-up.


Photo by @irisophist

8.    RED EYE ESPRESSO

Neighbourhood: Queen West

Address: 29 McCaul Street

What You’re Working On: Blue-sky ideation session for your freelance creative agency gig.


Photo by @cchehade 

9.    THE BLACK CANARY ESPRESSO BAR

Neighbourhood: Dundas Square

Address: 329 Yonge St

What You’re Working On: Inking panels for the next great Canadian graphic novel.


10.    VERSUS COFFEE

Neighbourhood: Corktown(ish)

Address: 70 Adelaide St E

What You’re Working On: Meditations on baroque metal for the 21st century.


Photo by @dineandfash

11.    ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE

Neighbourhood: Church Wellesley Village

Address: 568 Jarvis St

What You’re Working On: An essay on bespoke denim and leather.


Photo by @smcdm

Photo by @smcdm

12.    NEO COFFEE BAR

Neighbourhood: King East

Address: 161 Frederick St #100

What You’re Working On: The branding for your new online clothing company specializing in monochrome wool rug/scarves.


13.    JET FUEL COFFEE

Neighbourhood: Cabbagetown

Address: 519 Parliament St

What You’re Working On: The script for your independent arthouse flick.


Photo by @dorringtonr

14.    ODIN

Neighbourhood: Corktown

Address: 514 King St E

What You’re Working On: The layout for the upcoming issue of your architecture magazine.


15.    MERCHANTS OF GREEN COFFEE

Neighbourhood: Riverside

Address: 2 Matilda St

What You’re Working On: The next big Canadian literary classic, soon to be mandatory reading in high schools across the country.


Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!

Words by Kimberley Kwo & Nick Wong.  Photos & curation by Abhishek Dekate, with special thanks to our contributors:  @cchehade

@didieryhc

@dineandfash,

@irisophist

@margaux.zanetti

@ozols

@smcdm

and @willteeyang