Until a few years ago, the Financial District was hardly synonymous with great coffee. This changed in the last few years when several independent coffee shops, featuring carefully crafted coffee, opened up around Bay Street. In fact, people working on Bay Street now have so much choice that I didn’t have enough space in one article to list them all. For now, let’s start with the best takeout coffee shops in the Financial District.
Sam James Coffee Bar
It feels like Sam James kicked off the craft coffee wave in the Financial District when he opened a takeout coffee shop in the PATH, right by St. Andrew’s subway station, in 2012. I remember dropping by a few weeks after he opened his doors and marveling at how delicious my Americano was. Three years and several hundred cups later, I am still a devotee. Their coffee, which uses their own Cut Coffee beans, never disappoints. Plus, an Americano only costs $2.50 if you bring your own mug. Try the Toronto Street location, which is right across from the Ontario Bar Association, if you don’t want to deal with the crowds in the PATH. Kjell, the manager of the Toronto Street location, is probably my favourite barista in the city. She greets every customer with a smile and remembers to ask how your vacation was or if your daughter has gotten over her cold.
150 King St. W and 15 Toronto St.
Cash only, closed on weekends
I am a big fan of pour-over coffee, which extracts and highlights the flavour of the coffee beans. Clockwork Coffee, which opened earlier this year, is committed to making you a great pour-over cup. Splurge on their speciality pour-over which features beans from Hale Coffee Company. It takes a few minutes, but it’s entirely worth the wait. Grab a Nutella peanut butter cookie, warmed up, with your coffee and you will be in seventh heaven.
36 Toronto St.
Closed on weekends
When I find myself heading to the office on a weekend, I make a detour to Pilot Coffee’s kiosk in the Great Hall in Union Station. While it’s only been open for a few months, you’ll find the same great coffee that Pilot serves up at its other locations. They make their signature coffees using the stunning Modbar espresso system. Pilot is open seven days a week, which takes a little bit of the sting off going to the office on a Sunday.
65 Front St. West
Open all week
With all these choices for great coffee in the Financial District, you shouldn’t find it too hard to elevate your coffee break — even if it’s so short you’ve got to take your coffee to go.
Iman Abokor is an insurance defence lawyer at Lawson LLP and Precedent’s coffee columnist.