Best Cafés in Waterloo
Greetings, one and all! No preamble today, let’s just dive right in: the Top 5 Cafés in Waterloo.
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5. Seven Shores Urban Market and Café
Seven Shores Urban Market and Café is located right in the heart of Uptown Waterloo, and it truly is a business with a heart. Of course, Seven Shores has delicious food and drinks (their baked goods, made in-house every day, are particularly tasty) – we wouldn’t put a café with subpar food and drinks on this list!
But what truly sets Seven Shores apart is its social and community concern. For one thing, Seven Shores works hard to ensure as many of their products are locally-sourced as possible. They are also generous supporters of the local area; indeed, they are community-owned by a core group of 10 who are devoted to making Seven Shores the friendliest café in the city.
Seven Shores is open Monday to Friday from 7am – 6pm, and Saturday to Sunday 8am – 4pm. They’re located at 10 Regina Street in Uptown Waterloo.
4. Games on Tap Board Game Café
In many ways, we’re living through a true golden age of gaming. And Kitchener-Waterloo has more than one board game café in which you can enjoy this golden age. Games on Tap Board Game Café is one of them: it’s among the best Waterloo locations to spend an afternoon or evening with friends.
$5 will get you a full day’s access to their collection, and what a collection it is: as of the time this article was written, they have over 850 games! It would take a lot of caffeine to work your way through every single one, but thankfully, Games on Tap has a diverse drinks menu to keep you well-fuelled, as well as a variety of options for snacks, sandwiches, entrees, and more.
Games on Tap is located at 321 Weber Street North, in central Waterloo. Their hours differ on most days: Sunday from 12pm – 10pm; Monday 4pm – 11pm; Tuesday and Wednesday 5pm – 11pm; Thursday 12pm – 11pm; and Friday and Saturday 12pm – 1am (if you’ve got the stamina and dexterity to do so, you could play games for 13 hours straight on Friday or Saturday).
3. Café 22
If you’re looking for the refined elegance often reserved for European cafés, then you need look no further than the fine city of Waterloo, Ontario. Don’t bother flying across the Atlantic, because Café 22 is the perfect spot!
And Café 22 is not just a café; it’s also a wine bar. It’s got a lovely ambiance, a range of delicious baked goods and meals, tasty caffeinated beverages, and the perfect wine to pair with whatever you happen to be dining on (smoked salmon and fine wine is as classy a combo as it sounds).
And finally, if you’re wondering what happened to the other 21 cafés, don’t worry: none of them were as good as Café 22. Café 22 is located at 22 King Street South in Uptown Waterloo; they’re open Monday through Thursday (and Saturday) from 9am to 6pm, on Friday they’re open from 9am to 6pm, and they’re closed on Sundays.
2. Timeless Café
When it comes to cafés, timelessness is a good quality, and the Timeless Café and Bakery has enough timelessness to spare. It’s pretty romantic, too, which doesn’t hurt. The Timeless Café and Bakery is a lovely place: it’s warm and cozy, and there are flowers on just about every table.
For a reasonable price, you can get a delicious meal, gourmet drinks, and delectable desserts to share (crème brûlée, for example). The Timeless Café also hosts date nights on Thursdays, with live music and two-person meals.
Timeless Café is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 3pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 3pm; they’re also open in the evenings of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. They’re located at 305 Northfield Drive East, in northeast Waterloo (right by RIM Technology Park).
We couldn’t help it: most of our top cafés turned out to be centred in and around Uptown Waterloo. It’s just a great place for cafés, with its variety of shops, lovely streets perfect for a stroll, and its proximity to the universities; there are many to discover beyond this top 5 list, too.
So Honourable Mention goes to two fine cafés located somewhat off the beaten path: the Healthy Owl Bakery Café, with its healthy, vegetarian and vegan options(located just north of Conestoga Mall), and Rumbletum Café and Gifts, which also happens to feature one of the bounciest names ever to grace a café (Rumbletum is just north of Waterloo proper, in the community of Conestogo, Woolwich Township).
1. Death Valley’s Little Brother
And so, we conclude our list with a café that epitomizes the trend of Waterloo cafés having awesome names: Death Valley’s Little Brother. Before diving into what makes Death Valley’s Little Brother (DVLB) such a cool place, I’d like to share a little bit of their ‘About Us’ section: according to DVLB, the Jackalope is a rare creature, part deer and part killer rabbit.
Apparently, one of the surest ways to catch a jackalope is to leave a flask of whiskey outside, and wait for the jackalope to become a little wobbly before chasing it down. DVLB goes on to proclaim that one of the most famous jackalopes of all was a fierce warrior king by the name of Death’s Valley; one day, he was defeated, and he left his crown to his younger brother, Whisper.
Whisper learned that it was a wise jackalope who drank its whiskey at night, and nibbled on coffee beans in the morning. So says DVLB, anyway.
And, indeed, DVLB offers both of these things in abundance: it’s a great Waterloo location for coffee-lovers and whiskey-lovers alike. DVLB offers espresso-based drinks, pour-over coffee, cold brews and more. DVLB also has a wide range of whiskeys, and not just any whiskeys: whiskeys from all around this fair world, with fine specimens from Ireland and Scotland, classics from Kentucky and the USA (bourbon, as it likes to be called – did you know 95% of all bourbon comes from Kentucky?), and even less widely-known whiskeys including options from Japan and Sweden.
Death Valley’s Little Brother also has character; to set foot inside is to be immersed in a land of rustic décor that would not be out of place in an old time saloon, richly-stained wood, and plush brown leather (indeed, it’s almost like swimming in a mug of coffee or a glass of Scotch).
Death Valley’s Little Brother is located at 84 King Street North in Waterloo. They’re open Sunday from 9am – 7pm; Monday through Thursday from 8am – 10pm; Friday from 8am – 11pm; and Saturday from 9am – 11pm.
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about Waterloo’s cafés, go forth and enjoy!
Written by Will Kummer