It’s time to update Scout’s list of Vancouver’s best coffee-first, work-friendly establishments. We’re doing this for two reasons: 1.) there are new additions, and 2.) it’s important to for us to keep this list on point. Therefore, for your ranking consideration…
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters | 2902 Main St. | MAIN STREET | 604-872-4901 | www.49thcoffee.com | Beyond the good coffee, we love this place for its seating variety (communal, corners, lounge, windows, and more) and the fact that it’s also home to Lucky’s and its delirium-inducing PB&J doughnut.
The Birds & The Beets | 55 Powell St. | GASTOWN | 604-893-7832 | www.birdsandbeets.ca | With almost two years now under its belt, this attractive, well-lit space has proven to be a consistent winner on the food front (mostly healthy and hearty snacks and sandwiches) and the bean execution (Bows x Arrows) is proper.
Bows x Arrows | 4194 Fraser St. | FRASERHOOD | 604-620-7657 | www.bowsxarrows.ca | We love the beans produced by this Vancouver Island roaster, so we were stoked to see them open a cafe/restaurant here last summer. The long communal table makes for good brunch hangs and solo/group workathons.
Caffe Artigiano | 302 Davie St | YALETOWN | 604-336-4766 | www.caffeartigiano.com | A local chain that found success where every cafe ought to, not in slick branding and moustache wax but in consistency and excellence. This small outpost – attached to the Opus Hotel – has a sophisticated traveller’s vibe to it.
Cartems | 2190 Main St. | MAIN STREET | 778-707-1114 | www.cartems.com | A specialty doughnut shop at the foot of the nicest residential building on Main Street, dishing wondrous doughnuts like Canadian Whisky Bacon, Chocolate Triple Threat, and Earl Grey. Beans by Elysian, so you know it’s good.
Culprit Coffee | 2028 Vine St. | KITSILANO | 604-730-0133 | www.culpritcoffee.com | This Kits gem is pretty adorable at first glance but it has depths of awesomeness. Aside from the great staff and the super cool flashlight chandeliers, we dig the Fernwood Coffee Co. beans roasted on Vancouver Island.
Elysian Coffee | 1100 Burrard St. | DOWNTOWN | 604-681-2331 | www.elysiancoffee.com | An Elysian joint with wifi? Yup, the other three locations might still eschew the trend toward Mackedness, but their newest outlet is umbilically attached to the Burrard Hotel, and what is a hotel cafe without wifi? Rejoice!
Finch’s Market | 501 East Georgia St. | STRATHCONA | 604-568-5501 | No Website | One of the more charming and atmospheric spots on this list. Good meeting spot, though it has the power to remove idle hours from your life if you’re not careful, so boot up and concentrate. Pro tip: baguette sandwiches are legend.
Gene Coffee Bar | 2404 Main St. | MT. PLEASANT | 604-568-5501 | www.genecoffeebar.com | Occupying the glassed-in prow of the flat-iron building at the junction of Main and Kingsway. Lots of plugs, strong wifi signal and satisfactory coffee with plenty of distractions. Aka: Gene Pool.
Greenhorn Espresso Bar | 994 Nicola St. | WEST END | 604-428-2912 | www.greenhorncafe.com | If there were a model for how we’d like all neighbourhood to operate, Greenhorn would be close to perfect. Part art, gallery, part record store, part coffee bar, it’s the full package. Bonus: good granola with vanilla-spiced pear.
JJ Bean | 460 Railway St. | RAILTOWN | 604-253-7245 | www.jjbeancoffee.com | This local chainlet has plenty of locations around town but the one we avail ourselves the most is the stylish looker in Railtown. The midday people-watching here is superb, as is the company’s bold, rocket fuel “Railtown” roast.
Kafka’s | 2525 Main St. | MAIN STREET | 604-569-2967 | www.kafkascoffee.ca | A swell Mt. Pleasant hangout that attracts a representative cross-section of the neighbourhood with a cozy variety of living room-style seating. Always buzzing, but never too distracting. Serious about their beans. Good pour overs.
Le Marche St. George | 4393 St. George St. | MT. PLEASANT | 604-565-5107 | www.marchestgeorge.com | We prefer to sit outside in a cozy chair and tether for wifi here rather than join the crush inside. On top of the good coffee, they serve outstanding toasted croissant sandwiches layered with ham and cheese.
Matchstick | 213 East Georgia St. | CHINATOWN | 604-336-0213 | www.matchstickcoffee.com | Local coffee roaster and baker with killer design sense, highly efficient service, and lots of variety when it comes to seating (communal, window cloister, banquette, high-top). Want to spike a cup? They’re also licensed.
Milano | 36 Powell St. | GASTOWN | 604-558-0999 | www.milanocoffee.ca | Tucked sufficiently away from the Gassy Jack tourist track to almost always guarantee a free seat, this bright, reliable and work-friendly joint has a deep menu of house beans and a slick but comfortable modern European design. Hours are easily well spent here.
Moja | 1102 Commercial Dr. | THE DRIVE | 604-879-6652 | www.mojacoffee.com | This new addition found instant success on account of the quality of their beans and the cozy, modern-meets-industrial look and feel. If you ever find time to lift your head from your laptop, the window perches make for awesome people-watching.
Musette Caffe | 1325 Burrard St. | DOWNTOWN | 778-379-4150 | www.musettecaffe.com | The reliable bicycle-themed cafe moved out of their Chinatown digs last year and into this Ste. Marie-designed stunner directly facing onto the Burrard St. bike lane. Beans are from Phil & Sebastian and local roaster Pallet.
Nelson The Seagull | 315 Carrall St. | GASTOWN | 604-681-5776 | www.nelsontheseagull.com | Housed in an open concept heritage space and doubling as a bakery, this is one of the better looking cafes in the city (and probably the most aromatically alluring). Avocado toast + Matchstick beans = good working environment!
Nemesis | 302 W. Hastings St | VICTORY SQUARE | www.nemesis.coffee | This newcomer facing Victory Square is one of the biggest surprises of the past year. Not only is very easy on the eyes with a superb coffee program, but the food is also shockingly good for a coffee shop – perhaps ‘best in class’ for Vancouver.
Pallet Coffee Roasters | 323 Semlin Dr. | HASTINGS-SUNRISE | 604-255-2014 | www.palletcoffeeroasters.com | A good-looking neighbourhood cafe that roasts its own beans behind a glass partition. A little off the beaten track but well worth repeat visits on account of their evident and delicious dedication to quality.
Prado Cafe | 1938 Commercial Dr. | THE DRIVE | 604-255-5537 | www.pradocafevancouver.com | Our new/old local, just down the street from our office. It’s where we go without laptops so we can do the work that needs to sometimes be done without them. Good neighbourhood vibe, sweet corner nooks, 49th Parallel beans.
Propaganda Coffee | 209 East Pender St. | CHINATOWN | No Phone | www.propagandacoffee.ca | We use owner-operated Propaganda a lot both as a meeting place and a midday caffeine re-up station. Great selection of beans and seat options, from communal tables and lonely deuces to window hightops and lounge seats.
Revolver | 325 Cambie St. | GASTOWN | 604-558-4444 | www.revolvercoffee.ca | This is our regular go to for a number of reasons, starting with the attention to detail paid to every cup that’s made to order. It’s also beautifully designed, offering a mix of tight booths, window seats, and a lengthy communal table. Killer bean selection, too.
Small Victory | 1088 Homer St. | YALETOWN | 604-899-8892 | www.smallvictory.ca | We’re suckers for their scones with jam and clotted cream (also the bechamel-heavy chicken pot pies), but for a double shot and a solid work sesh it’s definitely our main port of call in Yaletown.
Timbertrain Coffee Roasters | 311 West Cordova St. | GASTOWN | 604-915-9188 | www.timbertrain.ca | The seating is a bit labyrinthine and tricky to suss at first, but you’ll figure it out (it’s one of the 1,000 coolest things in Vancouver). Definitely one of our favourite cafe interiors in town. Bonus: excellent beans.
Did we miss your favourite work cafe? Let us know via @scoutmagazine