Love you a latte: Vancouver's 9 best coffee shops for a cozy date
The coffee date is a classic for a reason - especially when it's a first date with someone you met online. No other date idea quite captures the low stakes/high reward of going out for coffee: coffee shops are public places, they create a relaxed setting, and if you're not clicking, they can be kept brief (unlike a dinner date). On the other hand, if sparks are flying you can go ahead and order that second flat white - you're in the perfect place to linger a little longer.
Of course, lingering is a more appealing prospect if you pick the right cafe. Happily for those singles dating in Vancouver, this city is full of coffee shops that make perfect backdrops for a romantic date (whether it's the first or the fiftieth!). And we've sussed out 9 of the best...
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The 9 best coffee shops in Vancouver
Vancouver's 9 most date-worthy coffee shops
The intimate one: Aubade Coffee (230 E. Pender Street)
Photo: provided by Aubade /Jeremy Wong
If you and your squeeze are after a coffee date with a difference, then Aubade Coffee can provide. The setting is definitely unique - Aubade is part of Space Lab, a venue in the middle of Chinatown that combines the coffee shop with a vintage/antique store. The back of the venue is all fascinating old treasures, while the cozy, welcoming front area is home to some of Vancouver's best coffee.
Aubade's coffee truly is outstanding: owner Eldric brews a select range of coffees (no syrup-and-cream-laden concoctions here!), and so he can focus on making each one perfect. From the beans to the brew method, you really can taste the care put into each cup - he's even created his own AeroPress filters to really bring out the full flavours. All this, and he still manages to keep the ambience friendly and never pretentious. Do note, there are only a handful of seats here, but trust us, an Aubade coffee is worth a wait!
The arty one: Olive & Ruby (2839 W. Broadway)
Photo: provided by Olive & Ruby
Like your coffee date locations to be cozy, friendly, and a little bit arty? Olive + Ruby should definitely be on your list. This Kitsilano gem is ideal for settling any first date nerves as the whole space is equal parts calm and inviting. From the clean white walls, to the vibrant green plants, to the huge, one-of-a-kind mural from Vancouver artist Dana Mooney, this is the kind of coffee shop where you want to linger.
If the decor doesn't convince you to stay the menu just might. The locally roasted coffee (from Pallet Coffee Roasters) is divine, and comes served in beautiful, handmade pottery mugs. And then there's the food; all pretty healthy stuff, but with a focus on taste, not piety. Highlights include deeply flavourful acai bowls and fresh sourdough toast topped with smashed avocado - it's simply delicious! Bonus: it's all vegan, making this a perfect coffee shop pick for anyone dating someone with special dietary requirements.
The pretty one: Caffé Citadella (2310 Ash Street)
Photo: provided by Caffé Citadella
Vancouver's best coffee shops for a date are those that are warm and welcoming in the winter, and bright and breezy in the summer (especially important on those B.C. summer days when it's actually sunny and not cloudy or raining!). Fairview's Caffé Citadella ticks both of the above the boxes, with a heritage location that's utterly swoon-worthy, and perfect for a bit of first-date romance, whatever the weather.
Set in a beautifully restored, two-storey heritage house, Caffé Citadella is lovely on snowy days - grab an upstairs table by the window and enjoy the view. But, it's the sunny days when this cafe truly comes into its own. As if the heritage villa wasn't pretty enough, this coffee shop also boasts a garden patio, making it the ideal place to impress your date. Order a couple of coffees, follow them up with a pair of paninis, and sit back in the sun, relaxing in each other's company. Perfect!
Read more: here's 9 more of the best summer date ideas
The fun one: Timbertrain Coffee Roasters (311 W. Cordova St.)
If you and your date prefer well-crafted coffee to instant blends, then Timbertrain Coffee Roasters should be on your list of Vancouver's best coffee shops, no question about it. Their dedication to brewing a perfect cup is so great that they even roast their own beans, and their Gastown location has a dedicated 'slow bar' where each coffee is brewed with careful attention.
Part of the fun of Timbertrain is the range of different brew methods they employ: think unusual offerings like a nitro cold brew (cold brew coffee poured via nitrogen infuser so it looks like - and has the silky mouth-feel of - a pint of Guinness). This diversity is no gimmick though, from the cold brew to their traditional espresso-based drinks, everything Timbertrain makes is delicious. Add in a big, sunlit space with plenty of booth seating, and you have yourself an ideal coffee shop for a great date.
Read more: into Vancouver's food and drink scene? Try these 9 great date night restaurants
The sweet one: Liberty Bakery (3699 Main Street)
Dating someone with a sweet tooth? Then make a beeline to Liberty Bakery in Riley Park, and spoil your date with one of their Vancouver-famous baked goods or pastries. This Nordic bakery/cafe's offerings are the perfect mix of style and substance - not only do they taste amazing, they look so, so pretty that they're almost a shame to eat (at least, not until you've taken a pic for Instagram!).
Owned and operated by Vancouver artists Scott Livingstone, Shannon Oksanen and Rodney Graham (who took the space over and remodelled it in 2015), Liberty Bakery's prettiness doesn't stop at the food. Indeed, those lovely vibes echo throughout the whole space, from the art-covered, wooden walls to the tables and signage that have actually been designed by the artistic owners. If you're after a coffee shop date that combines creativity and comfort, then Liberty is the ideal destination.
Read more: enjoy artistic vibes? Here are 8 more creative date ideas
The quirky one: Nelson the Seagull (315 Carrall Street)
It's impossible to write about Nelson the Seagull without first telling the story behind the quirky name - it's a riff on an old folk song called The Seagull's Name Was Nelson. Owners Lee and Jonathan Snelgar are a brother and sister duo originally from South Africa, where the song is known as an anti-apartheid anthem thanks to it's association with Nelson Mandela's courage and triumph over adversity.
That feel-good spirit extends throughout every aspect of Nelson the Seagull. Unlike some of its more minimalist Gastown neighbours, Nelson is a coffee shop where homely, quirky vibes rule and the eclectic furnishings and decor make you feel welcome as soon as you step in the door. The menu is amazing too: Jonathan Snelgar bakes all the cafe's offerings onsite, including croissants, baguettes, and some of Vancouver's best sourdough. If you're planning a date here, try and make it a morning one - the sourdough is so good, it tends to get snapped up quick.
The high-tech one: Nemesis Coffee (302 W. Hastings Street)
Do you know the difference between a v60 pour over coffee and an espresso based drink? Do you like to pick the right beans for the right brew? Then Nemesis Coffee might quickly become a favourite. A relative newcomer to the Gastown coffee scene (it opened in 2017), Nemesis has quickly become one of Vancouver's best coffee shops. thanks to their focus on high-end. world-class coffee brewing.
With their amazing range of styles, a date at Nemesis is ideal for coffee nerds - but it's far from exclusive. Indeed, with such tasty coffee and a menu including highlights like duck and waffles, anyone who swoons over fine flavours will find something to love about this place. One final thing about Nemesis that makes it perfect for a first date: their logo is an inverted heart. Imagine sitting next to someone special, drinking coffee from cups with a heart logo - it will feel like it was meant to be.
The lovely one: The Birds & The Beets (55 Powell/54 Alexander St.)
Another of Gastown's great cafes (it's the fourth Gastown location on this list!), The Birds and The Beets is a Vancouver coffee shop that's able to live up to the hype. Where some cafes focus on sleekness and, as a result, can have a certain sterility, The Birds and The Beets embraces creativity, and as a result is overflowing with natural warmth and abundance. It's ideal for a romantic first date.
The lovely decadence of The Birds and The Beets is apparent from the moment you walk in the door; with the rich smell of the coffee mixing with freshly baked bread and flowers (part of the shop is a florist's, so there are blooms everywhere). The decadence isn't wasteful however - The Birds and The Beets has a focus on local ingredients, with produce coming from the nearby University of British Columbia farm. With an eclectic mix of plants, delicious food, and stellar coffee, this is the kind of date-worthy cafe you'll want to come back to.
The romantic one: Beaucoup Bakery (2150 Fir Street)
Looking for a really romantic coffee shop in Vancouver? Beaucoup Bakery in Fairview is a great pick. The decor here is just so date appropriate, from the pink outdoor tables, to the heart-shaped latte art, to the flower motif that runs throught the space. The coffee is wonderful, striking a great balance between creamy and strong, And then there's the pastries - homemade tarts and cakes and cookies, oh my!
It's all great, but it really is the French-inspired pastries that draw in customers from around Metro Vancouver. Baker and co-owner Betty Hung has gone from baking intern to Paris-trained pastry chef, and her creations really are incredible; so good that you may not want to share with your date! Beaucoup's space isn't huge (there are just 16 seats), but it's only a 4min walk from Granville Loop Park so, if needed, take your coffee and pastries with you and head out on a romantic stroll.
Read more: want to keep the romance going? Here's how to have the perfect dinner date
A map of Vancouver's best coffee shops for a date