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Café Culture

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Approaching the Aspen Gardens location of Square 1 Coffee, at 15 Fairway Dr. NW, one’s expectations might not amount to much — on the outside, the building which houses the café is not terribly big and seems rather square. The cozy patio, lit with Edison bulbs, promises some space, but the real wow-factor doesn’t come into effect until you actually walk in. The café, which opened during the spring of 2016, is enormous on the inside, and serves a whole lot more than just espresso, though there’s a lot of that available, too. In fact, the multitude of offerings is Square 1’s only downfall — the menu items change and are updated monthly, and as a result, there is no regular website listing of all they have to offer. In addition to a daily soup, there are always seven sandwiches and wraps to choose from, including vegetarian and breakfast-specific options. Every Thursday the café hosts an open mic night, aided by a piano nestled among the tables. For those who love a busy, eclectic café with a real sense of community, Square 1 is definitely worth a visit — several, in fact, because you might need more than one to take it all in. They also serve macadamia nut milk, which is different. Square 1 is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.


A growing trend with salons and barbershops is to have refreshments on hand for clientele, but few can say they have entire café. The brand new location of hair salon Weekly, however, can indeed make such a claim. On the east end of Whyte Ave — 9621 82 Ave NW, to be exact — Take Care Café not only acts as the salon’s storefront, but it also serves as an attractive way to gather new customers. Passersby can easily pop in to grab a quick americano or latte to go, pull up a chair and relax with one of the pastries provided by Bakehouse, and maybe contemplate a new do. Croissants feature regularly in the café’s selection, but so far the peach danish is Take Care’s real winner. The pastry is buttery and the cheese is rich and balances out the sweet fruit slices. It might not be big and it certainly isn’t part of Whyte Ave’s usual strip, but Take Care Café is definitely worth taking time for. Take Care is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.


A very new addition to downtown, Café Rosa is on the second floor of 10432 Jasper Ave, right above El Beso restaurant. While the restaurant below specializes in Mexican cuisine, Café Rosa has a distinctly European feel — the long and narrow design is oddly reminiscent of Amsterdam riverfront properties. The big windows usher in plenty of light, and also offer an excellent view for people watching. While the seating is more suited to individuals and couples rather than large groups, one can easily spend hours here getting homework done, especially early in the morning — the café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday, though they are closed on weekends. While the selection of pastries is pretty small, the drink menu is considerable and features a one-of-a-kind Mexican hot chocolate. A mix of cinnamon, chilli, and cayenne is custom-blended by one of the café’s own baristas, giving this beverage a spicy kick on top of its rich chocolateliness. If you like chill and cozy, Café Rosa delivers! 

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