Bud's Coffee Bar
Bud's Coffee Bar is a friendly cafe in the Beaches that's full of natural light and cheery vibes. This coffee shop makes an ideal pit stop for snacks and caffeine, and WiFi if you intend on getting some work done.
Named after his grandpa Bud, the cafe is run by Ken Galbraith and his partner Sarah Griffiths. Carrying beverages, sandwiches, and other sweet things, this cafe also has a small selection of coffee-related goods for purchase.
The first thing I notice here is the nautical-themed decor of the cafe that, although subtle, lends a Wes Anderson, The Life Aquatic sort of vibe to the place, aided by the fact that everyone is wearing toques.
One thing is for sure: this cafe is in the hands of a well-seasoned barista. Ken has worked at Balzac's, Dark Horse, Rooster Coffee House and Mercury Espresso Bar, and he's placed in barista competitions of yore.
He also runs The Porch Light, just a five minute drive away from Bud's. It's that experience that leads him to use beans from one of the best roasters in the city, Cut Coffee – their Butter Knife espresso is a preferred blend here.
One of my favourite things at this place is the picture of Bud hanging on the wall by the cashier – the similarity between grandpa and grandson is uncanny.
I really enjoyed the flat white ($4.25) which had a nice layer of foam to soften the Cut brew's strong kick of caffeine.
Aside from the regular coffee offerings they also have special beverages like a beetroot latte ($4.50). With ginger, cinnamon and cardamom powder, I found it a bit too sweet for my liking, though I'm sure less sweetener can be requested.
If you're not a dairy fan you can substitute with coconut, cashew, almond or soy milk.
To eat, Bud's offers breakfast sandwiches with egg and cheese brought in from Porch Light ($6). The sausage sandwich was oily and compact in a satisfying way; not a bad option for a breakfast on the go.
They also have bigger lunch sandwiches that range from $11 to $12, with the cauliflower and rapini option being the most popular.
All sweets here are made by the beloved bakery Circles and Squares. Yes, they do carry their famous salted chocolate chunk cookies ($2.25) as well as chocolate banana bread ($3) and carrot cakes ($3.75).
The strawberry pop tart ($3) was a highlight of the visit. I haven't had a pop tart in years, so I was glad to find it wasn't unbearably sweet like I expected it to be, and flaky instead of chewy.
Across from the cashier, you'll find shelves of additional products like a Chemex filter drip coffee maker ($65) and six different flavours of chocolate from Chocosol ($6).
Duck into the dimly lit backroom with a low-hanging ceiling and you'll see the kiddie area. You might even find Ken and Sarah's son playing in here. With a couch, bench, toys, and a chalkboard, it seems like a simple set up but for kids I'm sure it's a paradise.
Update as of January 2023, Bud's Coffee no longer serves the beetroot latte.