I’ve been sitting in Bicerin all afternoon working on an edit, and as of 4:40, it’s almost quiet in here. Almost. At last.
Bicerin is on Baldwin Street, a little street known for its restaurants. It’s also near the University of Toronto, and not too far from OCAD University either.
If you feel at home in a crowd that seems, for the most part, very much like the crowd you would find in a hip campus café, or maybe even in the lounge in a student residence, Bicerin will be a welcoming place for you. If you like lots of conversations and laughter around you – so much that you can generally ignore them if you want, though they can be pretty entertaining – then you will like Bicerin.
If you want peace and quiet, clean lines, and sturdy modern furniture and décor, don’t come.
When I came in, I planted myself at one of the three long six-person tables, right near an outlet so my Macbook wouldn’t drain out before I was done. My chair was wicked wobbly. When the other guy at the table left, I switched to the other side of the table. My new chair was worse, partly because the foot was almost going through a hole between the floorboards that gives a view of the basement. I moved over and have been comfortable enough ever since.
There is also a counter at the window with two stools, and two square tables against the wall with little backless square seats. And there is a couch with a coffee table. Unsurprisingly, there were three university-aged people lounging on the couch having a riotously good time.
The décor is black walls at the back, creamy walls with murals at the front, stained wooden joists dividing them. The music is the kind of alt-new-wave-psycho-techno-disorientation stuff that I used to hear on CBC Radio 2 at 4 in the morning and wonder who would actually buy it to listen to it. Now I know, I guess. It just adds to the sonic wallpaper and the hip student vibe.
The coffee is good. If you like espresso and chocolate, try the eponymous house drink, an Italian specialty.
The bathrooms are down a steep set of old stairs that, by an optical illusion, at first appear to turn into a wall. If you have any trouble with stairs at all, you do not want to have to piss here.
The view out the window is right up Henry Street, which is lined with trees. People come and people go. If you want the feeling of being completely surrounded by people busily doing people things but don’t want to have to directly interact with them, this is a good place. And if you like East Asian food, oh boy, you are on the right block.