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Local, independent cafés have the ability to create a culture and a community in any part of town. For some they are a workspace, for others a meet-up spot or a vital part of a morning routine. Whether it is the delicious coffee, friendly staff or unmatched ambience, here are a few unique cafés that should not be missed:

The Sidekick: Located in Leslieville, this creative café recognises that when you go into any book store you will generally spend a substantial amount of time in there, poring over which book to buy, maybe even reading a few chapters in the store itself. The Sidekick welcomes you to check out their expansive collection of comic books and collectibles while you enjoy the perfect cup of coffee alongside. If that was not enough, all baked goods are provided by a local, nearby bakery (with plenty of vegan options!).

Neo Coffee Bar: Nestled in the heart of downtown lies not a café, but an interactive educational hub. Here, baristas encourage customers to learn how their coffee is made and how different brewing methods affect and change the flavour of coffee. Their pastries are made fresh daily in-house with organic and sustainable ingredients. If you care about where your food and coffee come from, and want to learn more about gastronomy, Neo Coffee Bar should be on your checklist.

Fika: Immerse yourself in Swedish culture and have a fika (translates to: coffee break)! Step-aside world-renowned affordable furniture store: if you want to sample what real Swedish pastries are like, try the traditional cinnamon buns at Fika. If you are more interested in internationally acclaimed drinks, the iced coffee on their menu was named the World’s Best by Conde Nast Traveler. The minimalist Swedish design style of the café, along with treats such as cardamom spiced lattes, lavender white hot chocolate or elderflower rose water lemonade cannot be beat.

Quantum Coffee Co.: If you are into the tech scene (the café shares a building with tech-training company BrainStation) and single-origin coffee, Quantum Coffee Co. is the place for you. The precision-crafted Pour Steady machine is a perfect fit in this bright, airy, and minimalist space. The delicious nibbles come from local nearby vendor, The Tempered Room.

Snakes and Lattes: If The Sidekick lets you sit for hours by yourself going through every comic book you could ever imagine, Snakes and Lattes brings the whole family or gang together with their impressive collection of board games. Pick a table, pick a board game, pick a delicious coffee or snack and have fun! If you unwittingly become addicted to the game, do not fret – they have an expansive online repository of board games so you can keep the fun going at home!

This list could go on indefinitely. There are dozens of amazing cafés tucked away, and new ones popping up all the time, in pockets throughout the city, waiting to be explored.

Have you found a hidden gem? Where is your favourite place to grab a coffee?