Bud's Coffee Bar
Bud's Coffee Bar opened in the Beaches at the end of August, taking over the middle third of what used to be a Binz store. (Quality caffeine over containers, I say.) Co-owner Ken Galbraith has always wanted to open up his own coffee spot, having spent the last decade working at other indie cafes in the city.
He's built up a solid barista resume, having pulled shots at Balzac's in the Distillery, Dark Horse on Spadina, Rooster Coffee House on Broadview and, before he and his co-owner/girlfriend Sarah Griffiths finally found this space, Mercury Espresso Bar in Leslieville.
Funnily enough, the Toronto coffee name playing a big part at Bud's is one that Galbraith never actually worked for: Sam James. The La Marzocco that Galbraith and Griffiths are using was the original machine from the Sam James Coffee Bar on Harbord.
Bud's also uses and sells James's locally roasted Cut Coffee ($9 for a Â˝-lb bag). To add a bit of variety, the two will also have beans from well-respected New York roaster Gimme! Coffee (the Leftist Espresso Blend) soon as well.
It's espresso only here - no drip (even though a few customers have asked for it) - but they will have decaf. All shots are double by default because they only have a double-sized portafilter basket (you won't hear any complaints from me). The menu is super straightforward: espresso ($2.52), americano ($2.87), macchiato/cortado ($3.09), cappuccino/flat white ($3.36) or latte ($3.53). There is also tea (currently David's Tea , but this may change) and hot chocolate, but the focus here is clearly on the coffee. "The goal is simplicity and to keep things minimal," says Galbraith.
My companion gets a cappuccino and I try the latte, and both are expertly made and beautiful to look at. My latte pretty much tastes like one I'd get at Sam James, likely for reasons mentioned above - and also probably because a friend of Galbraith and Griffiths's who works at Sam James is helping them calibrate the La Marzocco the day we visit and he makes the drinks for us.
Desmond & Beatrice baked goods ($2.12-2.68) are displayed on the wood counter, which Galbraith built himself (he's also planning to add a bar along the front window - there isn't much seating inside right now), and gluten-free treats from Queen B Pastry are coming soon.
I ask Galbraith about the name of the shop, and he tells me it's a tribute to his late grandfather, whose framed photo hangs on the back wall. Bud sure looked like a classy looking fella.
Bud's Coffee Bar is open from 7am to 7pm daily. Cash only.
Photos by Jesse Milns