Is there anything better than finding a good coffee shop? There’s just something so satisfying about stumbling upon a spot that not only serves up a perfectly made flat white, but also has all the right vibes—whether you’re there to catch up on work, catch up with friends or catch up to your fellow book club members.

Well, we’re thrilled to say that B.C. and Alberta are full of cafés exactly like that. Keep on reading to see what we mean.

Photo: Leah Kathryn Photography

Note Worthy

Want to feel as if you’ve travelled back in time? Step inside Rockit Coffee. Designer Daniel Meloché gave this Whistler café a cool ’70s look—complete with a rock-and-roll theme. From the wall-to-wall installation of vintage speakers to the ceiling lights made of custom gold records, the groovy music motifs are everywhere. See more of this engaging and interactive space.

Tea Time

There are two types of people in the world: the ones who drink enough coffee to give Lorelei Gilmore a run for her money, and the ones who prefer a proper cuppa. This beautiful space is for the latter. “The idea was to create a space to support the client in presenting the culture and rituals of tea,” says architect Michal Leckie. Hence the long quartz counter, where patrons can sit and learn about every aspect of the brewing process. Step inside Cha Le Tea Cafe.

Hidden Gem

The exterior of this Kafka’s coffee shop is, in designer Scott Cohen’s words, “very mute, minimal and brooding”—but the inside more than makes up for it. The bright pink, orange and yellow plexiglass sculpture that hangs from the ceiling is inspired by the beautiful shapes and colours that can be found inside a cracked-open geode. Check out the rest of this bright and quirky café.

Cozy Corner

Claire Lassam had a very clear vision for Livia, an Italian bakery, pasta and wine bar on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. First and foremost, it had to be inviting—a place where patrons could indulge and linger. “There are so many cafes and bakeries that kind of veer on the side of minimalism to the point that they feel cold,” she says. “I really wanted a space that just felt warm.”

With a little help from Birmingham and Wood, her dream became a reality. We could sit and stare at the brass-and-milk-glass pendants, vintage Thonet bentwood chairs and hexagonal tile flooring (and munch on fresh pastries) all day long. See more of this homey bakery.

Photo: Hakan Burcuoğlu

Triple Threat

There were three things the owners of Mon Pitou wanted designer Alanna Dunn of Reena Sotropa In House Design Group to accomplish:

  • Help it function as a coffee shop, bakery and curated market
  • Incorporate wainscotting
  • Make it feel like you’re walking into a home

Of course, she pulled it all off—which is especially impressive considering she was in Calgary during the project (the Vancouver-based coffee shop opened mid-pandemic in February 2021).”Thankfully, [co-owner] Jesse had a very strong vision right from the beginning,” says Dunn. Read more about this dreamy French café.

Photo: Michelle Johnson

Stand Alone

Calgary’s Analog Coffee is not a chain—at least not in terms of look and style. Each of its locations is entirely unique. So, how did designer Sarah Ward make the 1,600-square-foot Westman Village cafe look different from all the others? She gave it a hip, cool and effortless aesthetic by incorporating steel, wood and brick, plus an eclectic collection of art. Check out this charming (not chain-y!) space.