This morning, I had breakfast at my favourite new cafe, Scene It.
Scene It is two businesses in one, being both a cafe and a travel
agency. The front portion is what’s you’d expect in a cafe: tables and
chairs, comfortable couches and a countert serving coffee and food.
There are some bonuses that although novel, aren’t completely
unexpected in a cafe: a gelato counter featuring the best cappucino
gelato in the area, bookshelves with travel magazines and the largest
library of Lonely Planet travel guides I’ve ever seen, computers which you can use for a small hourly fee and free WiFi.
What you wouldn’t expect in a cafe is travel agency. As you move from
the front to the back of the room, there’s makes a transition from cafe
to office. There’s a desk at the back of the room where you can make
travel arrangements as if you were at a regular travel agency — and
while having a coffee and biscotti!
They use their cafe setting to their advantage: they often have
information nights where someone does a presentation about a travel
destination. It’s the perfect location; after all, would you rather do
it in a stuffy travel agency boardroom or a nice cafe?
Scene It isn’t the first place in the area to run two types of businesses under the same roof.
Tequila Bookworm, located across the street, has been around for years and is a cafe-meets-magazine shop-meets-bouquiniste (a French term for “seller of used books”).
The Chinatown Centre at Sullivan and Spadina
has a computer store that also doubles as an internet cafe in the
basement level. You can buy computer parts and play networked games on
their machines. They do a pretty brisk business with kids, mot of whom
like to play networked first-person shooters and MMORPGs.
I haven’t been to Cinecycle in ages. I know that they’re still a movie theatre, but do they still do bike repair too?
Although not technically a single business offering two different services, the nearby Chapters bookstore (Richmond and John Streets) incorporates a Starbucks and will sell you internet access for a fee.
e zone at Queen and Spadina
has the zaniest combination: it’s a bubble tea lounge and hair salon
that also carries a combination of Chinese, Korean and Japanese food.
They’re a little more separate than the other combinations: the hair
salon is downstairs, while the lounge is upstairs.
And finally, one spot that isn’t in my neighbourhood (in fact, it’s not even in Toronto): near 7th and Folsom in San Francsico, almost across the street from the old OpenCola office,
there was a place that was both a bike shop and an arcade specializing
in classic 80’s videogames. When I lived in San Francisco, I bought my
bike there and played far too many games of “Mr. Do”. Is it still there, and does anyone know what it was called?
As you can probably tell, I’m fond of these quirky “synergistic” establishments. Are there any others in Accordion City, or do you have favourites in your town?