This is another coffice space review. You can listen to the audio version on Patreon.
On the north side of Queen Street a block east of the Don River is a busy branch of a popular local chain of coffee joints.
Don’t go in there. Go in the coffee joint facing it on the south side. The window says it’s The Cannonball Coffee and Bar. Their wifi and Foursquare and Google Maps say it’s F’Coffee. Whatever. The place across the street may call itself Dark Horse but this is the real dark horse around here.
It has 8 tables (some high, some low) and 2 counters with a total of 27 places to sit and I have never had any problem finding a place to sit and work. Right now there are only 3 other people even in here. The most I’ve seen is about 10. Apparently they have a patio out back, but I’ve never been to it. I like the tables inside. There’s a lovely view of the people walking by on the street and crossing it semi-suicidally at the pedestrian X-walk (drivers seem to take the X as meaning “kill them”), a less lovely view of the cars going by, and, across the street, that other coffee place, which is fine I’m sure but…
…well, the first time I was in here, a woman came in and she said, “I had no idea you guys were here! I was just across the street and there was no room in there.”
I love this place. It has wainscotted walls, old steam radiators, ceiling-level moulding, a big brown ceiling fan, lamps that are the latest trend of 1912, old posters on the walls, a big wall-mounted TV silently showing the gradual but inevitable entropy of our world as played out on CNN, soft jazzy music stroking the back of the afternoon, bamboo shoji blinds on the big window and Venetian blinds on the small one next to it, no-step entrance and no-step washroom, a standing fridge in which all the dairy for coffee is kept plus assorted other cold beverages, and a counter behind which is a certain amount of coffee and tea apparatus and no smaller an amount of alcoholic beverages, including four draft beer taps.
I think many people like to go to places because they’re busy. I like to go to places because they’re not. Just east of here is brunchville, dozens of restaurants sprawled all along Queen Street, and if a place has a 45-minute line-up and wobbly tiny tables and glacial service and sketchy mismatched tableware, there are a lot of people who are all about it. I have found that mostly empty places have better service and, often, food that is at least as good. Likewise with the coffee places. If you want predictable coffee and lots of people, go to Starbucks. There are several other more local coffee chains that are also pretty busy. The one-offs are much less busy. And guess what: the coffee is every bit as good.
And at this one you can get draft beer. Did you not catch that the first time? Beer. And liquor. Once you have had enough caffeine and done enough work you can go straight to screw-it o’clock without changing seats.
So if you like a relaxed comfy vibe where you can work all afternoon in relative calm, go to F’Coffee. If you prefer expensive décor and lots of people, then just go… across the street, I guess.