Are you a freelancer or a remote worker? Maybe a student? Do you need a comfy, well-lit place to work quietly with free wifi and caffeine? The coffee chain experience of Starbucks and Second Cup can feel repetitive, and not all coffee shops welcome patrons sitting for hours on end. But no fear, we’ve done our research and found five Toronto coffee shops that welcome workers with laptops in hand. [You can check out our 2014 list here!]
Dark Horse Espresso Bar started the communal table craze when it opened its first location on Queen East. Now it’s part and parcel of the indie coffee experience. There’s an industrial feel with its high ceilings, brick walls, and modern furniture. And their lattes are excellent.
Balzac’s at Toronto Reference Library
There’s also a communal table at Balzac’s. While the atmosphere is less antique and glorious than the Distillery location, they score points for their central location. They serve good coffee and their baked goods are even better. Skip up to the Toronto Reference Library if you need a change of scenery or want to take a break. (Warning: the TRL’s wifi can be spotty.)
White Squirrel Coffee has a location on Queen, right across from Trinity Bellwoods Park. The staff are easygoing, and there are always 5 or 6 people on their laptops at any given time. Warm and cozy, it’s a good spot to hibernate and work in the winter.
Seven Grams Espresso Bar has the atmosphere of a modern art gallery posing as a coffee shop. It’s all minimalist white walls, bright art, and modern furniture. They have a communal table with large windows and streaming light upstairs, and small wooden tables in an open space in the basement. There are a few patio spots if you want to people watch or enjoy the outdoors in the summer while you work.
Bell Jar Cafe
If you’re looking for a quiet coffee shop in the West End, the Bell Jar Cafe is a wonderful spot to work. They have small wooden tables in a big space, great art, and a relaxed calm atmosphere. They have a full food menu, and they’re also open in the evening for drinks, so it’s an easy transition from coffee to booze.
Jen Tse is a writer from Toronto. She has written for The Huffington Post Canada, Dazed Digital, Volt Magazine, HGTV, and others.