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Saturday, January 4, 2020


University of British Columbia photo
Like fireplugs, coffee houses in Vancouver, Canada seemingly appear at every street corner.  Here we found half a dozen worth visiting when the air is crisp outside and warm as a baker's kitchen inside. –Holden DeMayo, chief urban explorer.
WAVES on Bute Street, Coal Harbor at 1198 W. Pender Street.
Founded in 2005. this modern coffee house operation is up to 34 units in Western Canada, mainly in Greater Vancouver.  The Bute Street location is in the heart of the booming residential downtown part of Coal Harbor.  On Waves menu try the coffee mocha with pure Belgian chocolate—no powder.

WATER STREET CAFÉ in Gastown, 300 Water Street.  Yes, this establishment is a fine restaurant first, but on one afternoon after a long day of tourist trekking, management allowed us to take up their best corner window table after our lunch there to sip on espressos until we recovered.  For that kindness, they became this blog’s favorite coffee oasis.  Across from the city’s famous steam clock, the Water Street Café is housed in a brick building (Edwards Hotel) since 1906.  Despite its historic aura, the cuisine is fresh and modern. Fun note: the corner table was used in a scene from the film 50 Shades of Grey.

BURO ESPRESSO BAR in Gastown, 346 Water Street.  Innovative coffee house by the same owners of another Gastown hot spot The Coffee Bar.  Buro’s outside is a bit of Manhattan given the building it is housed in has that flatiron look.

JJ BEAN COFFEE ROASTERS, 353 Burrard, downtown. The person or team responsible for site selection and interior design of the JJ Bean coffee houses deserves a raise.  Each JJ Bean unit is remarkable, the Marine Building site is an example.  Overall, the corporate roasting services combine with a sophisticated product line and consumer services.

49 PARALLEL COFFEE ROASTERS, 689 Thurlow Street, downtown. Popular roaster for many of Vancouver’s top coffee houses and a budding chain on its own.  Slick.  Tasty and Cosmopolitan, an unbeatable combo.

MILANO, 849 Denman Street, West End.  For a fascinating story of a young Vancouver family operating a old school roastery:  click here.

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