Looking for the best cafes in Gastown, Crosstown or Chinatown? Here’s where you’ll find thoughtfully poured coffee served in well-designed spaces that reflect these funky ‘hoods.
346 Water St | $$ | Coffee Shop@buro_coffee | Visit website
Buro's iconic location at the entrance to Gastown is overflowing with natural light, raw wooden tables and some of the most carefully poured espresso drinks in the neighbourhood. This beautiful new concept comes to us from the owners of Coffee Bar (another Gastown hot spot), who use 49th Parallel beans at all their three locations. French pastries, banana bread, house-baked muffins and more are served, as well.
10 Water St | 604-566-9693 $$ | Coffee Shop@icoffeebar | Visit website
One of Gastown's most popular cafes serving properly pulled 49th Parallel espresso. Much of their baking is done in-house daily; other high-end items are sourced locally. Enjoy savouring your latte? You won't be hard-pressed to find a seat here, nor will you feel pressure to free up your spot quickly. And a wide variety of sandwiches, healthy snacks and free wifi mean it's a great spot to lounge all day long.
36 Powell St | 604-558-0999 $ | Coffee Shop@milanoroasters | Visit website
Where Italians go for coffee. This is Milano's biggest and most stunning location serving master roaster Brian Turko's award-winning Italian espresso. He's a cream-of-the-crop artisan who's been perfecting his craft of blending espresso for decades.
East Van Roasters
319 Carrall St | 604-629-7562 $ | Coffee Shop@eastvanroasters | Visit website
A charming coffee and chocolate cafe with a purpose: to provide training and employment to the female residents of the Downtown Eastside’s Rainer Hotel. One taste of their organic bean-to-bar chocolate and house-roasted beans, however, and you’d guess these were the utmost focus. Choose from drinking chocolate, hand-rolled truffles, single-origin chocolate bars, Faubourg pastries and more. And the space? Totally to die for.
Nelson the Seagull
315 Carrall St | 604-681-5776 $ | Lunch@gastownseagull | Visit website
Beloved brother-and-sister-run cafe and sandwich shop decorated eclectically with vintage items. Jono and Lee’s huge, funky space is a regular spot to all walks of life who appreciate character. House-made almond mylk and locally-roasted Elysian beans are used to produce deliciously nutty lattes, and toast, croissants and chocolate peanut butter cups are just a handful of your snack options. Light lunch menu available too.
The Message Cafe
75 E Pender St | 604-681-3115 $ | Coffee Shop@musettecaffe | Visit website
A licensed, bike-friendly coffee bar decorated with the cycling memorabilia of owner Thomas Eleizegui. The menu features quality 49th Parallel espresso, lots of pastries, yogurt & granola, soups, a small European beer list and more.
325 Cambie St | 604-558-4444 $$ | Coffee Shop@revolver_coffee | Visit website
The Giannakos brothers love coffee in a mad scientist kind of way. They spend lots of time tweaking, sipping, tasting and evaluating to ensure great tasting coffee every time. Though simple, this coffee program is precise, consistent and always using beans from world class roasters.
Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
311 W Cordova St | 604-361-3223 $$ | Coffee Shop@timbertrain | Visit website
A venture from three old friends who are passionate about the science of brewing perfection into each cup of coffee. Using their own beans roasted at a separate facility in Langley, Peter, Jeff and Min focus on slow bar brewing with a methodical and measured technique. This meticulous process is their labour of love. Snack-wise, they serve waffles and par-baked croissants that are finished in their modern, stylish space. Note: seating can be tricky to nab.
213 E Georgia St | 604-336-0213 $ | Coffee Shop@matchstickyvr | Visit website
One of Vancouver's favourite local coffee roasters with a stunning space and an admirable goal: "to serve the absolute highest quality coffee that they can imagine." It's less of a focus, but I say their in-house baking is as delicious as their hand-crafted, single-origin coffees. As their cafe is often packed, seats can be hard to snag.
Prado Cafe (Gastown)
100 W Hastings St - OPENING SOON | $$ | Coffee Shop@pradocafevan | Visit website
Four-time Canadian barista champion Sammy Piccolo's second Prado location is a go-to for the discerning coffee drinker. To ensure a perfect cup every time, he weighs the dry mass of the freshly ground espresso, times shots and uses an extract mojo refractometer regularly. A Fetco brewer is used for drip and almost all food items are made daily in-house. The gluten-free berry muffin is really decent.