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Dineen is an easy walk from where I live. It’s right at the corner of Temperance and Yonge, occupying a site that used to have an optical dispenser whereat I bought several pairs of spectacles. I think right now I’m sitting almost exactly where I first saw the frames of the pair I’m wearing right now. (I have newer glasses, but I use the older, weaker ones for close-up work.)
I seldom work in Dineen.
It’s not that I bear them a grudge for the disappearance of the eyewear store. It’s just that they’re always very busy. Quite often there’s just nowhere to sit.
Their most notable seating is along the window, red-upholstered benches with white marble cookie tables and blonde wood chairs facing. Count on never getting a seat there. If you did get one, you would be treated to the several conversations right by your ears from the people at the other tables. And since this is the financial district, you might find those conversations tiresome. There are also several high-tops with stools, and behind the espresso bar, there’s a counter with six high chairs with actual backs. I’m at one of them. It’s relatively calm (relative to the rest of the place), the ambient noise – including perfectly acceptable music, never stuff that’s going to offend anyone – drowns out specific conversations, and as a bonus you get a view of the baristas. Though I think you still have to go around to the other side to order, receive, and pay for your coffee.
Dineen really is a nice place, with brass and mirrors and marble and a lovely bright corner location. Of course it’s popular. And it’s such a good location. You’d really have to be terrible at what you do not to succeed with a coffee place here. Their problem, inasmuch as they have one, is that they’re too successful.
I do have a confession to make: As much as I like the place, and even though I walk by here often, I don’t very often get coffee here even for take-out. The flavour of their espresso is… not my favourite. It might be yours! Don’t take that as an absolute judgement.
The point, really, is that even though other places’ coffee is a little better, and even though this is a super busy place full of guys in suits, I still come here from time to time. And would come more often if I could count on getting a spot to work.