As one of the world’s best cities for coffee, Vancouver knows how to brew the best cup, pair it with the perfect pastry, and serve it with a smile. I like to think that Kitsilano is at the forefront of our city’s coffee reputation. In a community of high-strung students and new families, fitness gurus and early risers, pretty young things and aspiring entrepreneurs, caffeine plays a major role in the lives of us Kits folk.
Whether to grab-and-go at the start of the day or labour over with a textbook, coffee is always in demand in Kits. We all have our favourite go-tos, and we all know the big guys (49th Parallel, Calhoun’s, Blenz), so I scoured the streets for a few spots that may unjustly fly under the radar sometimes.
Here are my top picks for underrated hidden gem coffee shops in Kitsilano.
1) Arbutus Coffee | 2200 Arbutus St., 604-736-5644, Facebook.com/ArbutusCoffee
This is the place to be if you want to experience a quaint, neighbourhood coffee shop. Situated on the corner of Arbutus and 6th, you can get close to the action of West 4th without all the distraction. Surrounded by plants and picnic tables, this rustic building houses photos of decades past in Kits, wooden chairs and tables, and understated chandeliers. While the food isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, the coffee is excellent every time, and the sound of pages turning as people read real books and put actual pen to paper is music to my ears and reason enough to settle here for a lazy afternoon.
2) Bean Around the World | 1945 Cornwall Ave., 604-739-1069, www.batw.ca
Located on Cornwall just a couple blocks from the beach, this little corner cafe is the perfect haven for waterfront walkers and relaxing readers alike. Drenched in sun in the summer and offering an open view of wind and rain the rest of the year, Bean Around the World specializes in a solid cup of coffee, an array of delicious muffins, and the perfect atmosphere for both the homebody looking for cozy and the wanderlust looking for inspiration from postcards peppering the walls.
3) Blondy’s | 1705 West 4th, 604-732-4561 , Facebook.com/BlondysCoffee
A little shop nestled on the far east end of West 4th, Blondy’s is easy to pass by but definitely worth a visit. I go for the local and organic coffee, but I stay for the impeccable service. When your drink is served with a smile and a chat every single time, it’s difficult to opt for another cafe on the street. And I adore the tiny tables and benches squished outside the narrow storefront. It makes for a lovely spot to sip your coffee on a sunny day
4) Culprit | 2028 Vine St., 604-730-0133, www.culpritcoffee.com
Perhaps not so anonymous anymore, Culprit, which opened almost two years ago on Vine at 4th, is bustling every time I visit. Specializing in vegan and gluten-free treats, Culprit serves up not only a delicious cup of joe, but also a hearty and healthy lunch as well. Combining an airy feel, courtesy of the large windows and white floors, with the rustic vibe of roughed-up tables and chalkboards, Culprit is homey and sleek all at once. Let that bright yellow exterior pull you in, and be sure to try the salted chocolate chip cookie next time you’re there – it’s a personal favourite.
5) Higher Grounds | 2300 W. Broadway, 604-733-0201
At West Broadway and Vine, Higher Grounds distances itself from the competition in more ways than one. Beautiful leather armchairs and extravagant chandeliers are made welcoming by the eclectic local art, the friendly service, and the neighbourhood vibe. Outdoor seating at this corner coffee shop offers an excellent spot for people-watching in the sun. And, most importantly, the menu is excellent. With a perfect cup of coffee every time, I almost don’t have to mention the cinnamon buns that have regulars raving and the cookies that are always fresh and delicious. (Tip: shimmy one door over once you’ve grabbed your coffee to peruse secondhand books at neighbouring Tanglewood.)
Check them out ASAP, and comment with your favourite hidden gems that I’ve missed. I’m always looking for new places to caffeinate while I write!
Last modified: February 3, 2017