Restaurant type

  • Coffee Shop,


  • Take-out,


  • Casual,

Products and Services

  • Coffee,

Languages Spoken

  • English,
297 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M6G 1G7
Useful Information

Opening Hours *Holiday hours

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  • < $10,

Methods of Payment:

Meet the owner

Seven years ago, the stretch of Harbord Street between Manning and Ossington didn’t have a place where neighbourhood locals could get together, grab a coffee and have a bit of conversation. In 2009, Sam James, a then 25 year old who not only lived in the community but also worked for several notable coffee shops in the city, saw an opportunity to change all that. His goal was to create a simple, unpretentious café and provide exceptional coffee to the unique ’hood he’s proud to call home.

Along with his dad, Sam took the money he had and went to work, gutting what used to be an old junk shop. Three months later, the duo completed the job and opened Sam James Coffee Bar, one of the most beloved coffee shops both in the neighbourhood and the entire city.

Read the story of Sam James Coffee Bar

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Appears in 5 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Best independent coffee shops in Toronto

Best independent coffee shops in Toronto

This Harbord location is the OG of Sam James Coffee Bars. With minimal seating like the other SJCB locales, this coffee shop is more known as a grab and go spot. The interior is moody with lots of character and the espresso is highly praised. It would be an understatement to say Sam James takes coffee seriously – he’s a barista champion. Just try the siphon brew – made in an old school French press “vacuum” machine that looks like an hourglass – you’ll be blown away. The taste impressively differs from hot to cold.

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Best Restaurants for Coffee & Espresso in Toronto

Best Restaurants for Coffee & Espresso in Toronto

The new location of Sam James at the corner of Queen and Ossington is so sexy, you should go check it out whether you like coffee or not. Of course, the coffee should be the reason for your visit. But with its sky-high ceiling, black-and-white interior and handmade steel bar by artist Jeremy Jansen, you’ll feel like you've been to a New York gallery. With a great cup of coffee as a bonus.

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Brave the winter months at these cozy cafés in Toronto

Brave the winter months at these cozy cafés in Toronto

Chances are, you've walked passed this amber-lit coffee bar on Harbord Avenue, the original in the locally born Sam James empire. Yes, there's limited seating, but if you can grab one it's the perfect place to duck off the chilly street and get some serious people-watching in. There's always a buzz about this shop and when it's packed, you're likely to sit down beside a stranger and have a great conversation. They also have a great selection of pastries from local Toronto bakers and one of the best Americanos around.

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