Folio Cafe // 2299 Grant Ave
This large, sunny space is usually flocked by CMU students (and their ability to make a single cappuccino last the entire three hours they spend studying is impressive). The cafe’s ceiling-to-wall windows look out onto the beautiful campus grounds, and I promise the study-hall vibes will make you feel shockingly studious (that, or tempted to skip class and order another vanilla latte).
Parlour Coffee // 468 Main St
It's small, but it’s arguably the best-known coffee spot in Winnipeg, and probably the only place in the city that’s buzzing with caffeine and conversation as early as 7 a.m. It’s not the easiest place to find parking, but it’s along most major bus routes and perfect for a quick cup of coffee before work. The staff here are always smiling and the shop participates in most of the city’s cultural events and always supports local art. They love Winnipeg and Winnipeg loves 'em right back.
Little Sister Coffee Maker // 470 River Ave
Teal brick and plenty of subway tile make this one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in the city. The cafe has a sunny, retro vibe and at any given moment there is probably a meeting between two creatives happening at one of the tables. Bonus points for this cafe’s hip Osborne Village location and it’s tiny (but adorable) patio out front.
Cafe Postal // 202 Provencher Blvd
Head down a set of stairs in a charming little building in St. Boniface, the city’s French District, and there you’ll find this cozy cafe. Menu items are listed in both French and English (Je ne parle pas français), and include alcohol and seasonal features— the maple fog for fall is amazing. The only seats inside are a handful of bar stools lining the window, but there are plenty of seats outside to enjoy Winnipeg’s warmer summer days.
Thom Bargen Coffee & Tea // 250 Kennedy St & 64 Sherbrook St
Thom Bargen is the meeting spot of choice for creative minds, and each location in the city has its own eccentric vibe. The Sherbrook location is the perfect spot to sit and study or catch up with friends— its rustic decor features exposed brick, natural wood, and a hard-to-miss bike mounted on the wall. The brand new downtown location has a more sleek, open concept with a larger food menu and a live plant mural hanging from one wall—perfect for the business crowd out on a coffee break.
Amsterdam Tea Room // 103-211 Bannatyne Ave
If coffee’s not your thing, try this soon-to-open joint (no pun intended) in the Exchange District. Part art gallery, part tea room, the inspiration is totally European cafe culture. Low tables with cushiony seats, a fireplace, and more than 20 types of tea make this the perfect space to settle into. The retail space is already open for tea leaves and accessories, and you’ll hopefully be able to get comfortable and cozy with a hot cup of tea by early 2017.
High Tea Bakery // 2103 Portage Ave
The focus here is on the huge selection of homemade desserts—High Tea Bakery is known for its Imperial cookies, custom dainties, wedding cupcakes, and cakes. The newly-renovated space is big and bright with cute black-and-white checkered floors and big, worn leather booths. It's the perfect place to bring your mom for a London fog and a few (dozen) sweet treats.
The Human Bean // 251 Donald St
Not only does it have a seriously clever name, but it’s a Winnipeg staple and it’s located in one of the coolest spots in the city— The Millennium Library. Book lovers can grab a coffee or one of the dozen iced teas available and finish the latest E.L. James novel in peace (don’t scoff—you’ve at least skimmed 50 Shades when you thought no one was looking).
Bronuts // C-100 King St
Technically it’s a very delish donut shop, but there’s certainly no hole in their coffee quality (see what I did there?). Lots of people stop by this Exchange District shop solely for the coffee, but only a few leave without the remnants of powdered sugar lining their upper lip.
Fools and Horses // 379 Broadway
The sunniest + brightest coffee shop in town. Every Instagram photo ever taken here looks like it had the help of four different lighting guys holding up reflectors and studio lights. The perfect combination of white walls and wood is at work, and a large harvest-style table makes it easy for anyone lugging along a laptop. Parking may be an issue, but it’s a short walk from pretty much everything downtown (plus their selection of sweet and savoury toasts are SO worth the journey to get here). This shop is open slightly later than most of the others in the city, and they're always hosting after-hours events and parties (did I mention they’re fully licensed to serve alcohol?) Everyone wins.
Blind Tiger // 725 Osborne St.
By day, it’s a tiny coffee shop no bigger than a closet. By night, a hidden opening in the back wall reveals a speakeasy-style restaurant with french cuisine and a huge wine selection (seriously, how cool is that?). Grab a latte in the A.M., and head back later in the evening to check out the vintage speakeasy-inspired decor in the lounge of this south Osborne spot.
MAKE Coffee + Stuff // 751 Corydon Ave
It’s an espresso bar that doubles as a place for design exhibition, and its trendy space on Corydon Avenue means you’re most likely to see stressed-out environmental design students huddled in the corner, sketching things. Bonus: it’s open until 10 p.m. every night of the week.
Espresso Junction // 25 Forks Market Rd
Grab a coffee from this spot in the Johnston Terminal at The Forks and then wander the shops, restaurants and markets in the area. In the winter, it’s the perfect spot to warm up after skating the Red River Mutual Trail. Psst- they make a mean soy vanilla latte.
The Good Will Social Club // 625 Portage Ave
It’s a coffee shop that doubles as a concert venue that doubles as a pizza parlour. What more could you want? Oh, yeah—how about a set of ‘house rules’ that promotes a safe environment and dissuades all racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, fatphobic, and ableist comments? Progressive AF.
Forth // 171 McDermot Ave
This huge, multi-level space makes it the perfect place to find a quiet corner to study or meet with friends undisturbed. A huge food menu (including mouthwatering avocado toast), a full bar selection, and strong coffee will have you hanging here all day. Plus, there’s always movie screenings, clothing sales, and community programming happening here, and in the summer, the rooftop patio is open.
Joe and Lily // 145 Pacific Ave
"The little coffee shop that could"—located in the Sport For Life Centre, it’s a sometimes overlooked spot and overshadowed by its hip new neighbours in the Exchange District. But Joe and Lily is not one to miss out on—they even use Manitoba roasters for their coffee. Show this place some local love next time you’re in the area. They also cater!