Tucked away on an alley that comes off the parking lot of a Toyota dealership (the Pattison Toyota on Burrard downtown) with no front facing entrance to a street, this little cycling enthusiasts hangout/cafe offers up some very good espresso. Don't let the address of 1262 Burrard fool you - you won't find it. You have to go through the alley in the back by the Toyota parking lot to get there.
The spot is owned by Dave Vukets of the Trek Red Truck racing team, and it shows in the decorations which are HEAVILY cycling themed. The walls are lined with racing jerseys, there are TV screens showing cycling, there are cycling magazines, and there were about 10 bicycles in various locations around the space (many were from the cycling oriented crowd I imagine and some likely permanent). The only non-cycling themed things I found there were the actual coffee/pastries and a free foosball table in the back!
They are serving 49th Parallel beans, and taking the preparation seriously. They made a very nice espresso shot after spending a lot of time weighing the grind and weighing the final espresso right before serving.
The sweets, while they looked good, were a bit disappointing. I had a slice of chocolate cake, which was extremely dry.
For the gluten free crowd there was a lot of focus on gluten free options in the selections (for the record I do not think the dry chocolate cake was gluten free though).
They also had a menu from the European Breads Bakery which has a location facing the main street behind the alley (Burrard). Apparently you can order some food from them if you'd like. I'm a fan of the main European Breads Bakery over on Fraser, but this Burrard location was not to my liking when I went there - so I'm guessing that the pastries may also be their fault! I know I won't be ordering their food - that is for sure!
So it is nice to have a good espresso shot in this area, which previously didn't have a lot of good coffee options nearby. But I'll likely skip the sweets and food unless they find a better source.
I wonder if this alley based location will inspire others? Or if it will fail due to lack of foot traffic?
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