Black Rock Coffee
Basecamp's owner, Matthew Languay, partnered with friends Zohar Berlyand (also co-creator of Parkbus ) and Mike Svechnikar to create a space that is separate from, yet still complements the climbing gym.
While you can't access the gym directly from the cafe or vice versa, the two are clearly affiliated: Black Rock's logo is a cleverly designed upside-down version of Basecamp's mountain logo, made to look like a cone-shaped pour-over coffee dripper.
A window between both spaces and dry-erase boards and markers allow for those on either side to communicate visually.
There's an eclectic vibe to the place, as most of the furniture here was acquired through Bunz Trading Zone . The coffee bar counter's front is decorated with climbing rope, and the tabletops have an outdoorsy theme, each covered with different maps and memorabilia related to provincial parks like Algonquin and Killarney.
One top is dedicated to Burning Man, which makes sense since this coffee shop is named after the desert and temporary city where the festival takes place. As befits a spot that aims to be a community hub, there is also a bookshelf filled with travel books for those who are feeling a touch of wanderlust.
Espresso-based drinks (espresso, $3; Americano, $3.25; macchiato, $3.50; cappuccino, $3.75; latte, $4.20/$4.75) and drip coffee ($2.50-$3) use beans sourced and roasted by Pig Iron Coffee Roasters.
My friend enjoys the latte he tries, and the barista tells him, "I made it with love." That, combined with some know-how, goes a long way.
Hand-blended loose leaf teas ($3 each) come from Bampot , with flavourful options that tend to change up. During our visit, the popular Bam Bam Chai along with the Grasshopper (peppermint chocolate) are available, and they smell heavenly from my sample sniffs of the leaves.
To combat sweltering hot weather, Black Rock also makes its own nitro cold brew ($4) in house, as well as carbonated cold teas ($4 each) whose flavours will vary. I get a blueberry citron tea that's deliciously refreshing and I know I'll be back for more soon.
I'm told there are plans to obtain a liquor license in the future, and then the shop will match the gym's hours. Sounds good to me! Before Black Rock opened, there weren't really any indie sit-down cafes in Koreatown, so this is definitely a welcome addition to the 'hood.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.