The only thing in the name of this place that doesn’t practically scream NOT A COFFEE JOINT is the &. And yet.
And yet here I am at 3:30 in the afternoon, working on my laptop while drinking my second espresso beverage, and in one sweep of the eyes I can see six – one, two, three, four, five, six – other computers with people working at them. Five are MacBooks. Several of them are plugged in; there are outlets in various places. Prince is playing on the sound system.
This is a Leslieville demographic, to be sure. The people working in here range from their 30s (or late 20s?) to 50s (there’s one guy who might be over 60 but probably not). Everyone’s dressed in a fairly sporty casual. I’ve got a blazer on, which would make me the most stylish person here if it weren’t for that lady over by the window with the most excellent wide-brimmed Panama hat.
So… sweat. And soda. Looks more like computers and caffeine. But almost everyone here probablydoesexercise. May even have exercised earlier today or be going to exercise later on. And they have stuff for exercise groups – I think they may even host classes. Not sure. They do have a small stack of lockers right by the stairs down to the basement, which is where the washrooms are. I don’t know if anyone uses them. The lockers, I mean. They also have low-fat, gluten-free, and similar baked goods. I’m eating a brownie that knows not of the grain. So, yeah, it has that healthy vibe. And caffeine and computers.
The big thing you need to watch out for with this place – the thing that has kept me from coming in on previous occasions – is that it has a deceptive front. I don’t mean the front of being about sweat and soda when it’s really clearly full of computers and caffeine; I mean that the front, where the espresso bar is, has only a small amount of seating at the window. If you don’t look carefully, you may fail to notice the hallway to the back. The back is where there is seating for up to 30 people. Even with eight people currently working here, only two of whom seem to be mutually acquainted, there’s tons of elbow room and no one is forced to sit in un-Canadian proximity to a stranger.
The back room also doesn’t have a backroom feel to it. It’s bright and airy and there’s a windowed garage door that can open to the patio when the weather permits. There are even plants. Honestly, if you can stop thinking about sweat or (yuck) soda, you can feel very comfy here and work quite happily for quite a while. And if for any reason you want to move on – hey, perhaps it’s so full you might have to sit within a metre of a stranger – you’re in Leslieville, on Queen Street. Just step out the door and turn left or right, and cross the street or don’t. The most promiscuous caffeinist in the world could spend many a happy day around here. And I have.