If, by some accident of fate, you find yourself near Yonge and St. Clair needing to get some work done, and you don’t want to go downhill to Boxcar Social, you don’t have to resign yourself to the local world-eating chain coffee joint. Just go a couple of doors west to the office building lobby facing the streetcar stop.
You won’t have to go into an office! (Dearie me, no.) JJ Bean is right there, glassed off, with a view of the street to the south and the office building lobby to the east. You can plant yourself on one of the five high chairs at the L-shaped counter, or one of the two high-tops farther back, or one of the three low-tops down by the door, or even one of the four tables out front if the weather allows. The chairs look a little severe, blonde-wood things from some Scandinavian cafeteria, but I can assure you they’re comfortable enough to work in for a couple of hours.
Anyway, just look at this place. The name may suggest an outdoorsy yuppie-wear store, but your eyes will tell you you’re in Copenhagen or Stockholm. Not that you need to spend a lot of time looking at it if it’s not to your taste; stare out the window. I’m not saying the view is prettier, but it sure is different. Greyer, for one thing. As for the people-watching, it’s a midtown kinda crowd passing by. This is an office building, remember, so most of the people you see look like someone in a suit has an IV drip hooked up and their soul is the bag. They’ll look more alive if they get across the street to the pub. Maybe.
I mentioned steps. Yes, there are three on the way from the front door to the coffee bar. But you can go in the office lobby and up their ramp and in the entrance from there. Everything else about this place is modern and accessible. The coffee too.
And it may be in an office building, but you won’t be trudging home from here at 5:00 feeling like a wage slave. You can’t – it closes at 4. But also it doesn’t feel like an office. It’s an open space with a high ceiling and relaxing music with acoustic guitars and things like that. Wage slaves may schlep past, but you’re watching them through a window, swimming past like the disconsolate fish in a dentist’s office tank. You might find yourself near a conversation between two people bitter about their lives, but you can always move to another table. Or take notes for your next novel.