This is a coffice space review. You can listen to the audio version on Patreon.
Piedmont Coffee Bar is a little getaway in the heart of Toronto. Nothing about its sights, scents, or sounds is specifically reminscent of the part of northwestern Italy it’s named after, but Isabella Street just west of Church Street looks a lot like Vancouver’s West End when you look out the windows of this coffee joint: there are more trees per block, and per apartment block, than you get in many other parts of Toronto. The art on the walls here could be in a gallery in, well, I dunno, pick what city you like to go to galleries in. Portland. Chicago. Wherever. And the soft jazz music that fills the air here may make you feel like you’re in a 1970s travel documentary.
On the other hand, the conversations you won’t be able to avoid overhearing from nearby tables will keep you in Toronto here and now. There are always a few people working on their laptops here, but there are also almost always a few people sitting in a group and talking.
I found this place in a very Toronto way too. I was just walking down Yonge Street one scudgy day in late winter thinking about where to plant myself and do some work with a coffee. I got to a traffic light and it was red so I just turned the corner and kept going. At the end of the block I found Piedmont, at the foot of not a mountain but a big apartment building. You’d be surprised at how often wandering quasi-randomly on the path of least resistance in Toronto will get you to an independent espresso bar. I live here and it still amazes me sometimes.
The overall décor in Piedmont is not Piemontese in particular. It’s modernist concrete with only a bit of cream-coloured paint. There are five little French-boulevard-style tables with two little French-boulevard-style chairs each, four little office-lunchroom-style tables with two office-seminar-room-style chairs each, two high long tables with four high white metal stools each, plus a window counter with three more stools. They could easily fit several more tables but I’m glad they didn’t.
They’re very careful with their coffee here. They make it with great attention and serve it with polite pride. Their flat whites are not overlarge or understrong. They also have a goodly selection of teas and tea-based beverages. No booze, though. And the whole place is one hundred percent accessible for everyone of every mobility. The building is new.
And if, after a chunk of an afternoon working here, you feel like moving on to somewhere else, you’re a block from Yonge Street halfway between Bloor and Wellesley. You’re at the top end of the village on Church Street. This place may be a little getaway, but it’s just a little ways beyond the door to get back.