Toronto Cafés for the Freelancer + Creative Type
We've all been there. Those days when you don't want to study or read at home, don't have an office space to work out of and the libraries just won't cut it to get your creative juices flowing. You haul your laptop and books over to a café to find that there is a) no Wi-Fi, b) no seating, and c) no power outlets. We all want to be productive but it is definitely a risk to trek to a café to find that it is just unsuitable for your working needs. So when your couch or home office aren't sparking your inspiration anymore, and you are too low on funds to afford rent at a trendy communal workspace (East Room anyone?), I've gathered a collection of my favourite welcoming, local coffee shops around the city that are sure to meet your needs and are perfect for staying for hours on end:
Rooster Coffee House (Church & Wellesley, Old Town, Broadview): With three locations around Toronto, Rooster is the perfect spot to sit and work, read, or just enjoy a coffee, snacks and light lunch fare all day long. The Jarvis location is the newest and my favourite: big floor to ceiling windows, spacious, a second level with extra seating that overlooks the entire café, and free Wi-Fi and outlets to charge your laptops. The King East location is a bit smaller and darker, but plenty of seating and the same technology amenities. The Broadview location has a patio and Riverdale Park views, with couches, a communal table and bar seating.
Boxcar Social (Summerhill, Harbourfront, Riverdale): Boxcar is great for those who want to sit and read or do work all day, and then take a break with a beer, glass of wine, or a whiskey when the café turns into a bar in the evening (and they are open late!). At the Summerhill location, there are two levels with plenty of seating, a patio out back, Wi-Fi + outlets, and a charcuterie menu for when the coffee + baked good duo is becoming too routine. At the Harbourfront location, there are tons of communal tables, a bright work space as they are located right inside the Harbourfront Centre overlooking the lake, a tapas-style dinner menu after 6pm, and of course free Wi-Fi and outlets!
Safehouse Coffee (Little Portugal): Lovely bright cafe located on the corner of Dundas West and Brock. Big floor to ceiling windows up at the front, with a live edge bar and a few stools. Around the back of the coffee bar there's a communal table, maybe big enough for 6 people. Great place to come with your laptop as there is Wi-Fi and outlets. Most of their snacks and drinks are local, from Village Juicery, Desmond & Beatrice and Pilot Coffee Roasters.
Propeller Coffee Co. (Wallace Emerson): Cafe in an industrial space just around the corner from Lansdowne Station, surrounded by old warehouses and auto shops. Propeller is an award winning coffee shop that specializes in sustainability sourcing and small batch roasts. The space is huge and lined with many communal tables and also acts as an event space for private parties. Free Wi-Fi and outlets and an ideal spot to bring your laptop and work for hours.
Northwood (Bickford Park): Cozy cafe with an outdoor patio across the street from Christie Pits Park. At night this cafe turns into a bar, and is a great chill spot to come with friends for cocktails and beers. Northwood only opens around 2pm every day but there’s free Wi-Fi and outlets at almost every table making it a great spot to do work.
Agenda Cafe (Little Italy): Cozy cafe serving locally roasted coffee, house made baked goods, craft beer, empanadas, sandwiches and vegan soup. Baby blue walls, vintage Bose speakers and foliage set the mood and a communal table, window seating, free Wi-Fi and outlets create a perfect working environment.
Away Kitchen + Cafe: (Little Italy): 100% plant-based eatery and cafe. Enjoy vegan baked goods, light lunch items like salads, sandwiches, cheese and crackers, quiche, dumplings from Steambox, empanadas, bagels with cashew cream cheese, soups and more and beverages you can find at any other cafe but using only plant-based milks. Away is also a great spot to work as they’ve got plenty of seating, free Wi-Fi and outlets all around. Patio in the summer.
Odin Cafe + Bar (Corktown): A Nordic-Canadian cafe + bar, Odin is a beautiful and spacious cafe with tons of natural light, a great work environment, large white angular/geometric bar with great drinks and snacks or lighter lunch fare. This Scandinavian-inspired minimalist design is the perfect working environment, in my opinion. So open, bright and airy, allows for a clear and focused mind when working on the go. Odin has plenty of seating, with easy access to outlets and Wi-Fi. They also have a full snack menu complete with sandwiches, avocado toast, grain salads and empanadas. Come evening, Odin stocks a full bar with a small wine, beer and cocktail selection. In the warmer months there is also a small street-side patio.
Black Canary Espresso Bar (Old Town): Bright cafe with lots of seating - up on bar stools by the windows, at a communal table, smaller tables for 2 or 3, or for a cozier option: a shabby chic couch. Black Canary has free Wi-Fi, outlets, makes great drinks, has baked goods and a lighter lunch option and plays vinyls!
Jimmy's Coffee (Ossington): A great cafe with a few locations around the city (others in Kensington Market, Fashion DIstrict, Grange Park, Trinity Bellwoods and Bay + Gerrard). Jimmy's is a great spot for doing work as there are plenty of options for seating, whether it's at the front of the cafe, overlooking the Ossington strip, or towards the back with several tables and couches to choose from. Jimmy's has a chill vibe and free Wi-Fi/outlets for your freelance pleasure.
Krave Coffee (Wychwood): Cozy cafe and hangout for coffee, espresso drinks, tea and local baked goods/light fare. A great spot to bring your laptop as they have Wi-Fi and outlets, and also nice to spend a summer day out on the patio. They have plenty of tables in both the front and back of the cafe.
Hale Coffee (Junction Triangle): Roastery and coffee shop housed in the Clock Factory building. Bright, industrial space serving (aside from traditional coffee and espresso-based drinks) baked goods, soups, salads, sandwiches, breakfast, matcha, kombucha and plenty of seating with free Wi-Fi and outlet access.
Reunion Island (Roncesvalles): Sustainable, neighbourhood roastery. White-tiled, minimalist interior, lots of seating with Wi-Fi and outlets making this cafe a great work environment or hangout spot to catch up with a friend over a pour over and a baked good or Gold Standard burger.
Contra Café (Christie Pits): Love finding those local spots in the middle (or in this case, on the corner) of a residential neighbourhood. Located at Shaw and Yarmouth, Contra is a great coffee shop with a wrap-around patio in the summer and Scandinavian interior design of whitewashed exposed brick, wood tables with retro school chairs, and modern architectural accents like marble and concrete. In addition to coffees and teas, Contra offered delicious baked goods (with some vegan and gluten free options), sandwiches and breakfast options like yoghurt with homemade granola and breakfast sandwiches. Contra is a bright space with a communal table at the back, several tables for two along the wall opposite the coffee bar, and more tables up front at the floor to ceiling windows. Most tables have an outlet next to them and they have free Wi-Fi.
Forget Me Not Café (Fashion District): You may also know this spot as La Mercería, a bright and airy Argentinian/Colombian café, serving coffee, tea, empanadas, treats and other snacks. This café doubles as a design studio and home goods boutique if your desire is to pick up some little trinkets while you work. There are many options for seating (up at the front where there is more natural light, at a communal table in the middle of the café, or in a quieter room a little more secluded from the main space), though not every table has access to an outlet (most do). There is Wi-Fi and great food options if you are into Argentinian cuisine!
Simple Kitchen (Roncesvalles): Health-conscious cafe and mini market offering a wholesome, Keto-inspired build-your-own-meal menu with fresh, superfood ingredients. Simple kitchen also has a large variety of paleo/keto baked goods with some vegan options, a huge beverage menu as well as plenty of tables with outlets nearby and free Wi-Fi.
Tampered Press (Dundas West): Quaint cafe with lots of natural light that overlooks Trinity Bellwoods Park. Communal table in the centre of the cafe with several smaller tables around it and some window seating, Tampered Press is a great space to enjoy a coffee, baked good or light bites and do some work with it’s free Wi-Fi access and outlets.
Bob Coffee Bar (Wychwood): Sits adjacent to Italian restaurant, Annabelle, and run by the same owners, Bob is a cozy cafe and a great spot to do work with its free Wi-Fi and ample outlet access, or just hang out with a baked good from Petit Thuet, a soup and panini, cup of tea or an evening cocktail on the weekend.
i deal coffee (Roncesvalles, Ossington): Local roaster tucked away on Sorauren at Wright Ave, the coziest neighbourhood spot. Also one at Ossington and Foxley. Enjoy fresh coffee with a local baked good or light snack and stay for hours with free Wi-Fi available and outlets. Ossington has more seating than Roncy location.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar (Canary District, Riverdale): Huge space with lots of natural light and plenty of seating including communal tables, tables for two and couch areas with small coffee tables and end tables. There's a long coffee bar with light snacks and baked goods. Enjoy a variety of espresso-based drinks and teas and stay for hours on end as they also have free Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets for your laptop.
Loveless Cafe & Bar (Dufferin Grove): Cafe by day, bar by night, Loveless is a Dundas West staple, a great place to hang out during the day with your laptop and a coffee, as they have free Wi-Fi and outlets, as well as snacks and light fare, or drink the night away during the evenings once you have been productive enough for the day. On a summer night, the corner patio is packed with people.
Brockton Haunt (Brockton Village): Small, cozy, bright cafe serving Pilot coffee and from scratch baked goods. Seating options include a few tables next to the bar, some stools up front at the window and a communal table towards the back. A good spot to do work as they’ve got some outlets and free Wi-Fi.
Pilot Coffee Roasters (Ossington): Cafe chain with locally roasted beans, a slow bar, ample seating, baked goods and light lunch options. Wi-Fi and outlets available.
Gloria Espresso Bar & Cafe (Roncesvalles): Local-loved neighbourhood coffee shop with free Wi-Fi and plenty of seating with outlet access for freelancers. They serve coffee and espresso-based beverages, tea, baked goods, Montreal bagels, sandwiches and other light bites.
The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar (The Junction, Koreatown) Airy space with natural light and exposed brick, plenty of seating (some tables, stools at higher tables overlooking Annette and a cozier nook with comfy leather chairs), free Wi-Fi and some outlet access, corner patio, baked goods and sandwiches.