Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Different Sort of Café

My old boss, who lives three blocks away from me in the High Park area, told me about a new café in the Junction called The Good Neighbour. And a good neighbour he was indeed!

This little hot spot is located at the corner of Annette and Quebec Ave., and its style is 19th century industrial meets modern chic. It retains some of that historical Junction charm: it has wire light fixtures with exposed bulbs, a few red brick walls, a wooden, warehouse floor (finished, but still with a natural look), and blends these with elements of the modern: white walls, white columns, and a coffee bar that is done in shiny, silver tiles embossed with a stylish floral design. They paid attention to small details like house numbers, #102 and 104, on the bathroom doors, and create an open space between the back hallway and the café with a large, multi-panel window. Overall, there is an airy, eco-conscious feel to the place, as fresh flowers in a variety of colours adorn the tables and countertop, and serve-yourself water aromatized with fresh cucumber and orange slices is available in glasses instead of paper or plastic cups.

They sell your usual café fare – espressos, lattes, loose leaf teas – at competitive prices, and offer delicious pastries to snack on. In the refrigerated counter section, a stylized sign in cursive writing reads “Paninis coming soon”, so you will be able to have lunch with your Americano in the future. According to the espresso expert, Nick, the Americano here is definitely worth checking out.

I was surprised to find out that The Good Neighbour had only been open for two weeks, because it was already buzzing with so many customers! There were girlfriends catching up on Saturday night’s events, people reading or working (me and my fiancé!), a group of folks chatting around the modern fireplace on comfy chairs, women who had just finished outdoor bike training, and trendy young families with new babies in tow. It was a friendly atmosphere, with lots of smiles and comments exchanged between strangers; the place certainly lives up to its name, bringing people from all over the neighbourhood together.

The Good Neighbour Espresso Bar is located at the corner of Annette and Quebec Ave., on the northwest side.

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