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Favorite coffeehouse/cafe with wifi and why?

I'm in search of the ideal coffeehouse.

There are several criteria (ie: coffee & espresso quality, food, ambiance/decor/abundant comfortable seating, patio, noise level/music, people-watchability, beer/wine availability, etc.) but these are all very difficult to find in one place. Ranging from hidden gems like Caffe Rosso to Calgary institutions like Beano, even the exceptionally located Second Cup -- I don't care. I just want to find it in Calgary because living in a city without one feels a bit incomplete.

Where is your favorite place to get a drink, read the newspaper, and work on your laptop?

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  1. My favourite coffeehouse overall is probably Phil & Sebastian's Marda Loop cafe, but for all the criteria that you mention there really is only one choice and that's Kawa Espresso Bar. The espresso is as good as anywhere (and this is bearing in mind that the bar has been set insanely high in this city), brewed coffee is on the Clover, they have a full breakfast-lunch-dinner menu with the occasional special event with guest chefs AND the pastries are usually excellent, the seating is fine depending on what you choose, there's a nice protected patio, the music is well-chosen and, as long as you're not there during a live performance, is not overly loud; the crowd isn't as interesting as at Beano but is plenty diverse, and they have the best beer selection in town (and, from what I understand as a non-wine-person, a decent wine list too), Nobody else touches all these bases.

    8 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      I'm probably the only one but I find the Marda Loop Phil and Sebastion's decor to be cold and unwelcoming. I'll only take out from there.

      1. re: sharonanne

        You are not the only one. EXCELLENT coffee for take out.

        1. re: sharonanne

          I like the communal front table, but yeah it's not that conducive to hanging out. But for me it's about the coffee... plop me in any of P&S Insomnia Rosso DeVille Kawa Bumpy's Chiasso and I'm happy :)

          1. re: John Manzo

            If I can find my way into that small parking lot at the new P&S at Chinook, it would be the ideal place. Park at the curb, order an Espresso and a Croissant, a few minutes later you are on your way. Almost like in Europe. Minus the car.

            1. re: worldwidestuff

              I didn't have any coffee in Europe that was remotely as good as P&S.

              1. re: John Manzo

                My comment pertained to the access part. You know, hop in, hop out.
                P&S Coffee is very good.

        2. re: John Manzo

          I second the Kawa recommendation. One further bonus with Kawa - I have always found the staff to be particularly friendly and accomodating.

        3. For easily the best pure coffee shop in town, Phil & Sebastian, Marda Loop or Chinook. The Marda Loop may lack a bit in ambience, but the Chinook location is a lot cozier.

          For a good blend of coffee, good music, alcohol, food, and lounging, then Kawa would fit the bill.

          For very decent food, people-watching, lounging, or even studying, then Purple Perk would be the place. But their coffee is mediocre, at best.

          1. My fave is Vendome Cafe tucked behind the Safeway in Kensington. I love the light that streams in the windows of the old house and the staff are super nice. Bonus: the food is amazing (from the same people behind Teatro) like crab eggs benedict or duck confit sandwich. It's small but quiet with free wifi.

            Teatro Restaurant
            200 8th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K7, CA

            Vendome Cafe
            940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: alau2

              alau2 you know I respect your opinions but if the espresso I got at Vendome last Friday is any indication- and I think it is since I've had espresso there three times now- their coffee program is, well, horrible. The espresso was pre-ground, stale in the hopper. This is a huge no-no. The pull was too long with almost no crema. I am sure they do a lot right there but the coffee seems like an afterthought.

              Vendome Cafe
              940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6, CA

              1. re: John Manzo

                I am in agreement there coffee is not that great. I stopped in and was not impressed much better options in Kensington.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  John: No offence taken; you're definitely the coffee expert. :-) I just really like the food and atmosphere at Vendome.

                  Vendome Cafe
                  940 2 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T2N 0E6, CA

              2. I really like Weed's Cafe, on 20th Ave and 19th St. NW. It's not at all "fancy" or "upscale," but I really like it because it reminds me of the dirty, trashy coffeehouses I frequented during my undergraduate days. i've also done quite a bit of writing there, and reading those papers brings back memories of early Sunday mornings at Weed's. :P

                as for quality of coffee, though, nothing beats P&S.

                1. I am pretty sure anywhere in kensington has interesting people :) it may sound silly when I lived on that side I liked the second cup by the safeway the seating is good and people are always chillin doing their work and stuff. I like the deVilles downtown very good for people watching(or sketching ;) ) the coffee was not bad but I didn't drink much of it because I accidentally ordered caffiene :( i'm kind of an outcast since I started drinking no caffiene... aww this is like me and cheese, except I have an aversion to cheeses! There go two major culinary families! No fun coffee far up in the NE... P&S also my favorite coffee. I have a friend that works at caffe rosso, how is it? :P

                  1. Smartphone tethering makes wifi irrelevant.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Shazam

                      Especially with an unlimited data plan. Oh, wait....

                      Not every phone allows tethering btw.

                      1. re: John Manzo

                        And not everyone is in control of the plan on their phone. I have a BB at work & a small data plan. Can't justify carrying two.

                        Obviously the OP doesn't have a tethering phone so saying that wifi is obsolete when it obviously isn't for him is unhelpful and really rude. (Speaking to Shazam not John M).

                        1. re: Merry113

                          How do you know the OP doesn't have a tethering phone? Most people don't even know what tethering is.

                          I'm simply offering another suggestion, certainly not trying to be rude. Yeesh.

                        2. re: John Manzo

                          Who needs an unlimited data plan for surfing? Unless you're constantly torrenting from your PC while sipping java.

                          OP could also purchase a 3G data stick.

                      2. It is hard to find a place that meets all of your criteria, I like the coffee at P&S, when they were using 49th Parallel’s coffee from Vancouver it was good and now that they are roasting their own it also very good, however the decor is rather boring at both places. No artwork, or anything that catches your eye. More like a doctor’s waiting room minus the magazines. Even the menu at the new location requires you to look waaaay up, it seems to have been designed with no thought as to how customers would use it. Odd! But they definitely have good coffee. It’s hard to find a place in Calgary that has a cozy coffee house feel to it, the closest I’ve found is Cafe Rosso. I’m forever spoiled as I came from a small western city that even 10 years ago had 2 coffee roasters, one with a coffee house attached that also rotated local artist’s work on its walls.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: bruleetoday

                          I agree about the P&S decor; I certainty wouldn't call it "cozy." Perhaps "loud" and "sterile" are better words.

                          That said, their coffee is spectacular.

                          1. re: bruleetoday

                            P&S never used 49th Parallel. They started with Origins (aka Hines) from Van and then switched to Novo.

                            I'm assuming your city is Nelson- charming place but you can't compare the hyper-roasted charcoal you get at Oso Negro with any of the coffees from P&S or Fratello. Completely different leagues. Oso has no idea who to package its coffee for resale either- the bags at Community are OPEN. Huge no-no.

                            1. re: bruleetoday

                              I bought 49th Parallel at the original Farmers Markets locale when they first opened. I tried to find a local small roaster then to no avail so I’m pretty happy that P & S are roasting and serving their own, coffee nirvana, just need some comfort aspect to complete the sit down experience.
                              Re: Nelson, no.
                              FYI : For coffee geeks, P & S are going to start tours in their roastery located in Inglewood soon. That will be interesting if they do cupping and tasting seminars, much easier than going to Transcend in Edmonton.

                                1. re: bruleetoday

                                  No you did not. They had espresso from Hines and SO's from Intelligentsia. Then they had espresso from Novo, then Paradise, then their own. They have never sold or had any business relationship with 49th.

                                  Fratello have been doing public cupping for at least a year now- contact them of you're interested.

                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                    Perhaps bruleetoday is thinking of Artigiano? No need to be so harsh.

                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                      She crapped in my cornflakes by dissing P&S.

                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                        Dissing P&S? From what I read she doesn't like the menu location or the decor. Minor complaints. I'm glad you're an ardent supporter but I'd hardly rate what was said as polluting one's breakfast.

                                        FWIW the Marda Loop location could have a warmer feel - there seems to be a lack of natural light in the place...northern exposures aren't the best for that.

                                        I was at Chinook yesterday. The french press offerings are on the counter and the main menu if you're not standing back a few feet from the till would require a head tilt... but because of the usual line I had time to peruse their menu while I waited, and pick the french press for DH once I got up front. I don't know that the location of the menu is much different from other cafes - not an issue for me. I liked the open concept, and the way the machines are arranged looks like it's good work flow for the baristas.

                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                          I went to the Chinook location today. It's a much better space than the Marda Loop location, however they use a french press for brewing the coffee instead of the single cup makers they use at the Marda Loop location... and for some reason both of our cupshad coffee grounds in them. BLECH. I don't know how this happened because I've never had this happen when making coffee with a french press. I'm guessing they either have a bad//broken french press, or the employee just being very sloppy. boo!

                                          1. re: nonlinear

                                            Really? I've never known of any baristas as meticulous as the folks @ P&S. So I doubt that it's sloppy brewing technique or even broken equipment.

                                            Maybe it's more grit than grind that was at the bottom of your cup?

                                            It's fairly commonly known that that's the main drawbacks of brewing with a French Press: you don't take your last gulp unless you don't mind a mouthful of grit. Otherwise, the French Press is one of the simplest and best ways of getting a great cup of coffee since it allows for adequate contact with the beans and allows the oils to pass through the mesh filter. Unfortunately, this also allows some of the finer grinds to pass through as well.

                                            Personally, it's my favourite way of brewing coffee. I've been doing it for years, and I ALWAYS get a bit of grit in my cup. But well worth it, in my opinion. In fact, the Frieling Presses that they use at P&S are one of the better presses available. The only constructive criticism I can offer to the baristas is that they take the time to pour the coffee into the cup so that less of the grit gets transferred. Easier said than done when there's half a dozen people waiting for their coffee.

                                            Next time, just don't take the last sip. The rest of the cup should still be excellent.

                                            (P.S. Even the Clover leaves a bit of grit in your cup).