Monday, August 31, 2015Partly Cloudy 28°C

City Bar

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 11, 2012

city bar lavish and squalor espressoCity Bar is not your typical indie coffee spot. For one, it's nestled amongst denim cutoffs and Wewood watches that hang off shelves--not off irreverent patrons sipping lattes. You won't find drip coffee here, nor will you find any freshly baked goods. There is zero street presence, no quiet reading nooks, and only a gentle sprinkling of natural light. But with Espresso Romano as just one of the atypical drinks on its menu, I think City Bar will soon find it's niche.

city bar coffee queen westLeave it to Lavish and Squalor to try to find mainstream love for the espresso, sugar, and lemon rind drink. The shop is poised to open City Bar in its upper level space sometime next week, and it plans to stray from some of the more common-touted coffee shop offerings.

city bar espresso toronto"We want to be like an old-fashioned espresso bar," owner Anne Middleton says. "Not many people drink just espresso anymore; we want to offer something to customers when they're up here. A nice, rich, single-shot."

city bar toronto Anne says they finally settled on one particular local Ontario roaster after months of searching, and helped to create a custom blend that they are expecting to receive in the next few days. "It's very clean," Anne says. "No tummy aches, no headaches, or any of those other things that can come from bad coffee."

city bar coffee toronto lavishCity Bar's focus will, of course, be espresso, with options such as the Cafe Miel (espresso, steamed milk, cinnamon, and honey), Flat White (espresso, flat steamed milk) and aforementioned Espresso Romano all on offer. There will also be loose-leaf teas and beans to take home, as well as glasses and coffee equipment.

city bar toronto coffee"Pretty much everything here will be available on the retail end," Anne says, pointing out the Duralex glasses, Frieling French press and coffee accessories resting on the bar. "And we're still going to be doing Cinq à Sept," she adds, referring to the shop's complementary cocktail events.

city bar lavish and squalor coffeeLavish and Squalor plans to see how customers take to City Bar over the next couple of months, and if all goes well, their next move may be a fully-integrated cafe on the main level. "We'll see," says Anne. "For now, we're just looking to offer an independent alternative for an area that doesn't have very many choices. And good espresso."

city bar toronto coffee lavish and squalor

Photos by Jimmy Lu



geg / May 11, 2012 at 01:45 pm
I'll be honest, judging from that picture the espresso looks flat, like it's way too old to be pulled in a shot. The head is really pale and thin.

That's what shots look like when I use a bagged Lavazza from costco instead of a freshly roasted bean.
ry / May 11, 2012 at 02:35 pm
They look like they have been sitting a while, but they also look like the ones coming right out of the machine above. A poorly planned action shot? It does say they're waiting for their roast to come still....
Brenda Bendover / May 11, 2012 at 03:45 pm
Weren't these guys on the verge of bankruptcy? I guess the owners either over-exaggerated their financial situation just to get on TV (CBC's "The Big Decision"), or they've dug themselves into a bigger hole.

Either way, I think their investors (family and friends, no doubt) are screwed. Do the owners really think that their expresso bar is going to make money? This venture reeks of failure.
woof / May 11, 2012 at 04:12 pm
Another fancy coffee shop.

So glad.
Meanjean replying to a comment from Brenda Bendover / May 12, 2012 at 02:24 am
Oh what a bunch of Debbie Downers the people who comment on this thing like really. The coffee looks old in the picture or whatever you said are you nuts? Just go already I am going tomorrow and will report back unlike you picture lookers.
fbc / May 12, 2012 at 03:38 am
No one who appears 'into espresso' mentioned crema. Enjoy your seattle bolds.
fidds / May 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm
too bad the BlogTO comments are always packed with lonely trolls. Has anyone actually been to this place and able to offer a review? Considering this stretch of queen, a place to get a decent coffee is more than welcome!
The Lonely Troll / May 12, 2012 at 03:20 pm
Did someone call?
Tony / May 12, 2012 at 09:02 pm
Wow, best coffee I have ever had. This place will be famous. I hope they signed a 100 year lease because people will be lined up drinking up this great espresso into 2100
J*town replying to a comment from Tony / May 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm
Sounds like that coffee impacted your life, Tony!
Kyle / May 14, 2012 at 09:10 pm
"Not many people drink just espresso anymore"
Huh? I've been a barista in Sydney, Rio, London, Auckland, Berlin, and Toronto and I would say Toronto orders as much espresso as Rio or Auckland per capita (a lot). Also, what about the many many wonderful 'espresso bars' in Toronto that thrive? But that doesn't matter Anne, observing your local market is for losers.

I went in and grabbed what they call a "flat white" which is the go-to drink in Australia/NZ and was utterly disappointed. It was a cappuccino with less foam on top. The expresso was still bitter through the milk. So the barista(s) don't really know what they are doing. Only one or two places in T.O can do a proper flat white.

Your photograph shows clearly under-extracted espresso.

I like your cups though!

Anne / May 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm
Hello ~ nice to meet you all.
Just to clear some things up here:
1. The picture was simply a last minute pose for the writer that snapped it. As we said, we didn't even have our beans then, so we simply grabbed some coffee beans from the office and make Sandro pose for the picture :) Really too bad we didn't realize they would take a close up of the glasses. eeks
2. We have never served anyone a flat white, as we are not open yet and only pulling espressos for our customers to try . hmm?
3. We are a boutique that takes great pride in the product and atmosphere we provide for our clients. And we will work hard to do the same with our espresso and teas.
4. The CBC show was sadly a gross misrepresentation of our company and who we are. I won't go on....
5. We have loved Toronto and our customers for many many years now, and plan to do so for many more.

Thank you for you time - Come by for an espresso and we would be happy to serve you on the house.
Sam / May 16, 2012 at 02:01 pm
Here's a thought...

Not to sound completely obvious and redundant, but there's this old saying... you may or may not have heard it; (*adjusting thick framed hipster glasses*)"Don't judge a book by its cover." For the laymen, this quote stresses the simple fact that you couldn't/wouldn't dare attempt pass judgement or speak an ignoramus understanding of the books content, depth, theme, etc. before you at least dabble in its text. This saying accompanies more than just books; It accompanies photographs as well... where I can begin to state my point... Can you taste the espressos quality through the image? Can you trace the aroma by glimpsing at an image? If you've answered 'yes' to both of the above questions than unfortunately you should seek professional help and/or reply to me with the exact whereabouts of where you purchased an odor emitting computer monitor (because I HAVE to own one). Judge what you know. Ignorance isn't bliss; Ignorance is ignorant.

No doubt, espresso is a delight to behold as it settles into the cup. Go take a look first hand; don't invent some false apprehension while you update your blog using Starbucks free wifi.

Espresso is deep, rich and complicated. Don't belittle it by acting the exact opposite.

I think it's a lovely ADDITION to an already fantastic environment to shop.

Can't wait to try it out!
Sam replying to a comment from Kyle / May 17, 2012 at 11:34 am
When did you order a flat white at Lavish&Squalor?
It's not even open yet - silly. What planet are you living in? Like all of you negative ho hummers. Do you not live in a neighborhood, work in one? I can't wait to have the option to enjoy an espresso or cold coffee there soon, while I shop and hangout a minute or meet a friend, during my times downtown.
Don't cut it, until you try and if you are too scared, don't go in - it's not for you, I guess. Like box stores and boring regurgitation huts might represent, to me.

Cheers Mate! And good Luck to Lavish&Squalor and all the other long hold independent shops, restaurants and music houses in our local core. Thanks to each of you for giving us your versions of doing business in Toronto and making up our independent merchant culture among all the over trendy, big boring guns on that strip. Toronto is way more fun than you negative commenters have got going on or are appreciating.

Can't wait to try it.
The REAL Sam / May 17, 2012 at 01:31 pm
Lets just be clear that there are two Sams...
Sam / May 17, 2012 at 01:37 pm
Guys, this is so crazy! I'm also called Sam and have an opinion on this thing. What are the odds?

My opinion is that even though I consume most of my espresso by looking at pictures of it and shouting things like "YES. THAT COLOR TASTES BEST" and "WOW, HOW LONG AGO WAS THIS PICTURE TAKEN? THIS IS TOO OLD! YUCK!", recently I've been told that I'm doing it wrong. Apparently it has to touch your big dumb mouth. I'm skeptical, but I think we should settle our differences and have an all-Sam meet up at Lavish & Squalor.

See you there.

Sam(4) / May 17, 2012 at 02:45 pm
Somebody say 'All Sam meet up'?
uncs / June 16, 2013 at 06:05 am
Móda značky Uncle Sam je výjímečné oblečení pro
volný čas i sportovní aktivity. Do naší země přivádí
sportovní módu již skoro 20 roků a jde se o velmi kvalitní oblečení.

Uncle Sam UNCS trika je také originální tím, že vyrábí nadměrné velikosti.
Rozptyl konfekčních velikostí je od velikostí XS až po 5XL.

Je to oblíbenou značka oblečení nejenom kulturistů, ale celou řadu aktivních lidí, kteří se chtějí trochu
UNCS oblečení se řadí mezi ty nejlepšími pro sport a volný čas na našem trhu.

Náš Uncle Sam e-shop nabízí luxusní módu Uncle Sam
za ty nejvýhodnější internetové ceny.
D replying to a comment from geg / September 22, 2014 at 01:39 am
THe espresso looks flat because it wasn't pressed right because the machine they use is automated (notice the buttons). The new automated machines produce lower quality espresso, runny and poor crema. Too many new coffee shops are buying into these Keurig style button espresso machines. YOU NEED THE ACTION OF THE LEVER TO PRODUCE A DCENT ESPRESSO!!!!

Add a Comment


Find a Cafe

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a Cafe in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.


Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:

Other Cities: Montreal