Must-try coffee shops on The Drive

Vancouver coffee culture was born on Commercial Drive. Also known as Little Italy, the neighbourhood has no shortage of cafés to meet friends, read the paper, tap on your laptop and of course, sip java. From traditional to modern here are a selection spanning the strip from Venables to Broadway.

Prado Cafe

1
Lwr 1938 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A7

Sleek, minimalist, bright and cool, Prado was a bit of an anomaly when it opened on the Drive. But the brothers behind hugely successful local chain Caffè Artigiano clearly have the chops to try something a little different on the strip better known for bongo drums and big plates of pasta. Passionately brewing beans from their family’s roaster, 49th Parallel, and baking all goodies in-house, this is serene sipping for the Drive’s hipster set.

Bump N Grind Specialty Coffee

2
916 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3W7

Co-owners Cheryl and Kyle Wright are a fun-loving couple who run their café with a focus on family and having a good time. But they take their coffee very seriously. They feature weekly changing brews from local roasters, including Langley’s Timbertrain Coffee, all prepared on their precise and highly engineered Clover coffee machine. Cheryl is also an award-winning barista, so you know you’ll be getting a coffee brewed with love, passion and big flavour. Bump your way in for your daily grind.

Turks Coffee

3
3-1276 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X4

This long-time fixture across from Grandview Park has been the gathering place for many musicians, artists and other local creatives for years. Brian Turko, coffee roaster for Milano Coffee, is also behind Turk’s on the Drive, his original café and meeting place. Embodying the café spirit of encounters, conversation and discussion over good coffee, Turk’s continues to thrive even as the strip changes. Plus, their latte art is adorable.

Joe's Cafe

4
1150 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X2

Foregoing all pretention — or frankly, any interior design sense at all — Joe’s Café on the corner of William Street is content with its Formica tables and Styrofoam to-go cups. What you’ll be content with is one of the tastiest cappuccinos you’ve ever tried. Peppered with groups of locals, usually older Portuguese men, and under the blare of soccer on the television, Joe’s has been proudly operating since 1974 and not much in the café has changed. Expect just good, strong coffee.

Continental Coffee 2

5
1806 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A5

Known for its steady patronage of loyal locals, Continental on the Drive is another long-serving café steeped in the history of the neighbourhood’s Italian roots. A family roaster since the ‘60s and a coffee shop on the corner of 2nd since 1979, the café also has a small selection of food and pastries. But a coffee is what you’re after. Bring it outside any time of year for people watching and meeting friends along this active and coffee-loving strip.

Calabria Bar

6
1745 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A4

You can’t talk about coffee on the Drive and not include a straight-out-of-Rome, authentically Italian café. Adorned with marble statues and a riff on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (God is passing Man an espresso), this is tradition and passion amid a bustling scene. Locals, families, young and old gather around small tables to sip Americanos or lean on the bar to chat about the day ahead while they quickly down double espressos. This is a café at home in Little Italy.

JJ Bean Coffee Roasters

7
2206 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4B5

One of the Vancouver coffee roaster’s first outposts, the Commercial Drive café of JJ Bean — like all its cafés — fits perfectly into its ‘hood. Rustic and comfortable with wooden seating and tables, the coffee shop has been attracting locals for years thanks to the irresistible aroma of their freshly baked muffins, their strong coffee and — a recent welcome addition — authentic croissants made in house. Grab a seat on the tree-shaded side patio among dread-locked creatives, hopeful authors and young families and enjoy the beat of the Drive, to which this JJ fully contributes.

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