Take a trip to downtown Toronto on any given weekday and you’ll observe a constant flow of individuals hustling from one location to another from all walks of life. Whether you’re a business owner, intern, C-suite executive, student, or simply visiting the city, anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee knows how crucial it is to get that daily caffeine fix. With Toronto being Canada’s largest city, its downtown core has become home to some of the most beloved and distinct independent coffee shops in the world. So, to help you narrow down this almost dizzying array of choices, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favourite independent coffee shops in downtown Toronto that are a must-try for all those in need of their morning coffee (with a charming environment to match).
Piedmont Coffee Shop
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to study or to grab a drink with a friend in downtown Toronto, Piedmont Coffee Shop is the perfect hideaway. Located on Isabella Street between Church and Yonge Street this small and discreet coffee shop not only has incredible coffee and other non-caffeinated options but is the perfect combination of modern and vintage decor, creating a cosy and welcoming atmosphere. If you’re an avid matcha latte drinker, this spot has to be at the top of your coffee bucket list.
Page One Coffee & Bar
When the University year starts, Page One becomes home to many students day and night. Located on Mutual Street, right of the Toronto Metropolitan University Campus, this coffee shop sees a turnover of students and business professionals either stopping for a few minutes to grab a drink or claiming a table for the day to power through some work. Page One has many unique features to other independent coffee shops, but perhaps the one that should be pointed out is that it also serves alcoholic beverages. You don’t even need to look anywhere else if you’re in need of a drink after a long day of work.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar
Dark Horse Espresso Bar has several locations across the city, with its roots being on Queen Street East. This spot gives off the perfect student vibe, by being both a space that radiates warmth and cosiness while keeping the industrial foundation that came with this space. This spacious coffee shop is the perfect hideaway for students looking for a place to power through some work. Not only does it have great coffee, but it also offers sandwiches and freshly based sweet treats to keep your fuelled through your workday.
Neo Coffee Bar
Located right off St. Lawrence Market, Neo Coffee Bar is here to provide you with your daily caffeine fix and baked goods. From ice coffee to shortcake delicacies, Neo Coffee Bar is the perfect place to grab your breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack in between meetings. If coffee isn’t your strong suit, this coffee shop also has you covered with its refreshing and unique lemonade blends. Top it all off with the modern architectural structure, this spot is the perfect go-to if you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of your busy day.
Riverdale Perk Café
Riverdale Perk Café is truly one of Toronto’s hidden gems when it comes to independent coffee shops. Located in the back of Riverdale Park at the intersection of Withdraw and Logan Street this small coffee shop offers breakfast, lunch, coffee, and other homemade delicacies that are worth the trip. This neighbourhood coffee house has a cosy and warm atmosphere while keeping a modern edge with its decor. Grab a coffee at Riverdale Perk Coffee and head on over to see the sunset from the top of Riverdale Park, you’ve got your perfect evening planned.
In close corners to Neo Coffee Bar, Versus Coffee is located on Adelaide and Church Street. Even standing outside the coffee shop, you can already tell this spot is vibrant with life. The combination of patio and indoor seating makes this spot spacious, and the perfect place to come grab a sweet or savoury treat at any time of the day. The interior is carefully decorated and arranged so that you will take a seat and never want to leave – especially after you have tasted a cup of their coffee.
Rooster Coffee House
Rooster Coffee House has become so popular over the years, that it’s now opened three locations around downtown Toronto. One of those spots is at the top of Riverdale Park, at 479 Broadview Avenue. This small coffee shop is your typical neighbourhood go-too. Always filled with life and a comforting ambience, the uniqueness of this spot is the location. You can go for a walk up Riverdale Park, grab a coffee at Rooster Coffee House, and sit outside the coffee shop while enjoying a mesmerizing view of the sunset setting over the city.
Known for its excellent coffee beans, Fahrenheit Coffee has locations on Lombard Street and Richmond Street West. With the limited amount of space it occupies, this coffee shop is less focused on having a study and work space but instead puts all its genius into its coffee. This is the perfect spot to grab a divine cup of coffee and a sweet treat to compliment the beverage. Voted Toronto’s Best Specialty Coffee House since 2012, Fahrenheit boasts some of the highest-quality coffee available in the city’s independent coffee shops.
One of the few small and discreet independent coffee shops on Bay Street, Coffee Island Brewing has exquisite coffee and other non-caffeinated beverages. Although it’s set in a small space, during the summer there are tables and chairs set up around the coffee shop that make it the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee with a group of friends. Once the weather gets a tad more gloomy, this becomes the ideal grab-and-go spot for your mid-day coffee run.
A family-owned coffee shop, the Hale family started this company back in 2011. Now having multiple locations across Toronto, the Hale Coffee Roasters each follow the same style when it comes to their interior decor. Spacious and welcoming, these independent coffee shops are the perfect spots for a midday study date or a quick grab-and-go coffee run. Targeting the trendy, modern audience of business individuals, Hale Coffee Roasters should be high at the top of your coffee shop bucket list.