While it certainly hasn't hurt Toronto's cred to be name-dropped by Drake at every turn, Canada's largest city has for quite some time been brewing up a very exciting, creative scene of its own accord.
Perhaps nothing exemplifies this better than the impressively-equipped and fantastically decorated cafés the city has to offer. With this in mind, we've decided to make a list of the best places to explore the important interplay of quality coffee and quality work. In making this list, we've been on the look for cafés that not only serve up top class brews, but provide a pleasant environment with good lighting to suit hours of browsing on glare-prone screens, as well as nice background music, friendly staff, comfortable seats for extended working and an interesting surrounding area.
10. Balzac's (Ryerson)
This cafe was set up in the newly renovated Image Arts Building on Ryerson campus and has quickly become a favourite hangout of students. With a nice view out onto the pedestrian Gould Street, this spot is perfectly suited to low-intensity research work (people watching) as well as last minute crams and emergency project meetings.
9. Dark Horse Espresso Bar
Dark Horse has a very sleek, modern interior. Long tables allow for groups but this can be quite an intimate spot. This place is popular among locals who park themselves on a seat early in the morning with a nice (Mac)book and spend the day at it.
8. Red Rocket
Red Rocket is a really, really cosy spot. Its decor, along with its consistently awesome music selection, are just two of the reasons people come back time and time again. RR has a great living room vibe; it's intimate without being cramped in any way. Their scones are famous in the local area, you'd be advised to try one if you pop in, but if you're need a quick burst of energy in the form of a tasty snack, the Nutella sandwich cookie will surely suit your needs.
Crafted is laid out mostly in large communal tables and is well set up for small group meetings and/or to strike up a conversation with a fellow creative. They keep fresh artwork up on the walls and their baristas are very knowledgeable; a friendly, artsy spot.
6. Boxcar Social
Boxcar is a stunning renovated two story house. While the bottom floor remains a buzzing, chatty spot throughout the day, the upstairs provides a much more quaint environment conducive to work. A big, bright space with plenty of small nooks to get lost in.
5. Tango Palace
Tango is a charming neighbourhood coffee spot and a perfect place to sit back for a few hours with fantastic coffees and snacks at your mercy. Their savoury treats are sourced from a range of highly-regarded bakeries across town. This place is open until 11pm daily and in the summer their idyllic back patio is open and is set up for wifi use.
4. LIT Espresso Bar
LIT would have been higher on this list if it weren't for the often tricky task of finding a seat. This cafe is located near the university, which makes for a busy, interesting crowd, but maybe not the ideal spot for several hours of browsing as it could being a tad disorientating. That being said, the coffee is hard to beat and this is a nice, well-designed spot to get some concentrated work done on the move.
3. Early Bird Espresso
Just as its name suggests, this is a place the early risers flock to. EB serves up quality brews from the early AM and provides guaranteed fast wifi for its customers. Even though this spot can get quite busy, the spacious, chic surroundings are perfect for losing yourself in.
2. Seven Grams Espresso Bar
Seven Grams has a superb location in heart of Yorkville. Split into three floors with lovely sizeable couches and cushions, this is a very versatile space that caters to a range of uses. Boasting locally-roasted beans by Pilot Coffee, these coffees are absolutely delicious. Sitting by the fireplace in the basement with a matcha latte is as good a set up as any for working away on a project.
1. R Squared
With arthouse posters up on the wall as well as inspiring quotes from creatives types over the centuries, R Squared have got your back in terms of stimulating surroundings. This place is big enough to handle a steady flow of customers yet remain uncluttered enough to knock out hours of work. They have plenty of power outlets and also provide an impressive selection of fruit-based drinks; perfect for some mid-day refreshment.