The original Dark Horse Cafe, located in Accordion City’s East End, is a much-loved, much-praised cafe known for friendly service, excellent coffee and tasty snacks. They’ve been so successful that they decided to open a second branch in a more central location: the Robertson Building in the Queen/Spadina area, where Chinatown meets the warehouse district housing the city’s tech startup and “Creative Class” crowds. Their grand opening has been held up by red tape, but at long last, the city’s most anticipated cafe of the year finally opened yesterday. I had a chance to drop by for a visit, sample their wares and take some photos.
It’s not much to look at from the outside thanks to the scaffolding (but it looks rather New York-y that way)":
…but inside, it’s a big, bright and beautiful space. Here’s the first thing you see when you walk in: their wide, welcoming coffee bar.
The cafe is split into two levels: a lower level at the front of the cafe and an upper level in the back. Here’s a view of the lower level, as seen from the north end:
Rather than fill the lower level with many small tables, the folks at the Dark Horse decided to use two ginormous tables, each of which can accommodate a dozen people quite handily. Here’s the square table at the north end of the room:
And here’s the rectangular table at the south end:
A small staircase to the left of the coffee bar leads you to the upper level located in the back. It’s more living room-like, with many small coffee tables and couches and chairs spread throughout:
Here’s a view of the coffee bar from the upper level:
Their selection was a bit limited on their first day: they didn’t have chocolate for mochas, nor ice for iced coffees, and the panini presses still had the plastic wrap on them; that’s all forgivable for the first couple of days. They did have an interesting-looking selection of pastries, and the peanut butter cream brownie I had was worth killing for (I suspect that the Ginger Ninja would absolutely love it).
It’s a gorgeous place with a lot of promise; my only real complaint is that it wasn’t around when I lived in the neighbourhood. I’m looking to hanging out there often.
This Friday’s Coffee and Code
With its grand opening, there’s no better venue for this Friday’s Toronto Coffee and Code. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a regular event in which I work out of a cafe so that I’m accessible to the public, where you can come join me for a coffee, ask about Microsoft, Windows 7, Microsoft tools and technology, the industry in general, accordions or whatever else. Yes, I could reach more people through email, blog and social networking software, but there’s no substitute for a friendly face-to-face meetup in a relaxed settings over coffee (or tea, or whatever your favourite beverage is).
Here are the details:
- What: Coffee and Code
- When: Friday, April 17th from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Where: Dark Horse Cafe, 215 Spadina Avenue (at Sullivan Street)
See you there!