I mean, you pretty much know what you’re getting into just from the name of the place, don’t you. But if that doesn’t tell you, look through the window or walk right in and see the narrow space, the bar on one side and the three little high-tops against the other wall, the one medium and one large table up in front. See the surfaces made from reused wood with peeling paint and engraved foliage. See the bottles behind the bar, which include many cute liquors but pointedly do not include vodka. See the floor, which is wood in a condition every bit as bad as the counter and tabletops. And if you still don’t get it, order their signature drink, a Voodoo Child, which is like a tighter version of a flat white served in a little glass skull.
Oh, and when you order it, the bartenderista will ask you which espresso bean you want. They have a chalkboard with your two choices.
Do you get it now?
Sit down on one of the old metal chairs or stools, probably straight from a union hall, and, over the basically funky and listenable music, hear the conversations of the other people in the place, some of them definitely straight from a union hall or other left-wing organization.
My dude, you’re on College between Spadina and Bathurst. You’re northwest of Kensington Market and you’re to the left of the University of Toronto. You’ll hear lefty conversations. You’ll see up to eight Macbooks at a time – even five in a row on the bar. You know who you’re unlikely to see in here? Guys in suits.
Just about the only thing here that may surprise you is that the bathroom isn’t a nasty hole down lethal stairs in some basement oubliette. It’s comparatively large, modern, and spacious, and it’s on the level, just past the bar.
I like it here. And the coffee is good. And if after doing some work I want a cocktail, I can have one made before my eyes, carefully, with a knife and a lighter, and served in an old candy dish or something, and it will not be some froofy entertainment district bullshit.
Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chain coffee shops. Bring your laptops and sit here in mutual muteness and feel the solidarity and see the grunge and be at home. And then hop the streetcar and go home.