The Grizzlar Coffee & Records is new to Edmonton, and explores coffee with a punk-rock ethos we’ve never seen before. Located just behind MacEwan University on 105 Ave. and 109 St., the café intersects music, culture, and high-quality drip coffee with a Do It Yourself (DIY) attitude thanks to its owner, Drew McIntosh.
After being involved with international art and music projects and working in Edmonton’s hospitality industry, McIntosh says he found an interest in coffee and wanted to approach the industry in ways he found weren’t being put to use in other cafés.
“Music is something very important to me, and it’s something that I really enjoy,” says McIntosh. However, he also explains that while art is important, it doesn’t always have the economic means to support itself. “Almost all art is something that doesn’t really have a lucrative base sometimes, but it’s important to do, so it’s interesting to find other ways to do that”.
For McIntosh, creating an art- and music-based café with great coffee would be the solution.
“If you think about music and art, space where people enjoy it is sort of vital to what it is, so I came up with this really great idea to have a café that would be a home for people who appreciate creativity, and those sort of creative things,” says McIntosh.
After learning how to roast coffee in Italy for a month, McIntosh came back to Edmonton to start working on The Grizzlar Coffee & Records.
The café opened in the latter half of October 2018, and since then has acted as a neighborhood host for coffee lovers, music enthusiasts, and artists alike. The Grizzlar Coffee & Records also helps international musicians by providing a location to sell their music, and is home to a unique collection of art and merchandise.
Additionally, the café provides coffee toBoyle Street Community Services and has signed on with Edmonton’s initiative called #HateFreeYeg. Signing on to that initiative means that the business is declared hate free, and stands up to make an example against a broad range of hateful behaviours, says McIntosh.
Of course, students are welcome to study here. There’s fast internet and a healthy number of outlets for laptops to charge. It’s also open bright and early at 7 a.m., so it’s an ideal spot to grab quality coffee before class.
The Grizzlar Coffee & Records works to eliminate the gap between producer and consumer as much as possible, avoiding major monopolies and buying directly from farmers, explains McIntosh. The café’s single-origin drip coffees reflect a wide spread of regions from Africa, South America, and Asia.
The appreciation for high-quality coffee is partnered with an awareness of the communities involved in both its production and consumption. One might question where punk rock fits into the equation, but the answer to that question is pretty straightforward — everywhere.
“When people talk about punk, sometimes they think about it’s just about music, but it’s not,” says McIntosh. “It’s about an ethos that results in music or art or other things of a certain description. Punk operates on this philosophy called DIY or Do It Yourself, which means that you don’t wait for somebody else to make the world what you want it to be,” says McIntosh. “We have to create these spaces, and if we don’t use our own hope for a better world to create better coffee — then we won’t ever have it”.
Ethiopian Limmu, a sweet medium roast coffee with blueberry, ripe strawberry, and dark chocolate. (Ask for the blueberry coffee).
The Grizzlar Coffee & Records
10557 109 St. NW
Mon. — Fri.: 7 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Sat. – Sun.: 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Photography by Sydney Upright.