Page One Cafe
Page One is a cafe and cocktail bar with a choosy selection of craft beers, cocktails and coffee. Behind the scenes, owners and partners Firas Arafat and Jennifer Reynolds were eager to open a hybrid coffee shop catering to academics looking for a moody atmosphere, reliable WiFi and a menu that rewards overstaying.
"We want people to feel at home, and designed it for customers who want to drink coffee and stay for cocktails." Says Reynolds. The space is bigger than you might expect, with library style seating and typewriters on every shelf, courtesy of Toronto Typewriters .
"Ryerson faculty love it here," says Reynolds. That must be a good sign, but I bet you the students come to as well.
Replacing the former Sears warehouse, Page One is located in The Merchandise Building on Mutual Street, a loft converted warehouse dating back to 1910. Firas shows me the before-and-after on Instagram - once a sterile-cold storage unit, now a trendy workplace oasis. It's like a teaser for an HGTV dream renovation.
Behind the bar, Page One prides itself with staff who are beyond capable. I order a latte ($4.10) which arrives equipped with a flying swan, emerging from a sunset. No surprise here, Barista Anskar Shin regularly competes in competitions. No big deal.
Serving coffee from Propeller Coffee Roasters with a flashy red La Marzocco espresso machine, Page One uses a seasonal Ace Blend, a high acidity roast with extra sweetness. Customers can choose between an organic selection of teas from Vancouver's Tea Guy , one of which is an Organic Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla ($2.86) - It smells like the good type of trouble on a Tuesday night.
Then there's Nino Shaoshvili, the mixologist and cocktail specialist. On top of a classic menu with a Mojito ($13), Dark and Stormy ($13) and an Old Fashioned ($14), she hands me an ice cold cocktail - they call it, Catching Fire ($12), a cool mix made with crushed ice, gin, soda water, cinnamon syrup and topped with a lime that's literally on fire.
From Almond Thai Chickpea salad ($7.99), Spicy Goat Cheese & Roasted Yam ($9.99) and smaller treats like Ginger Cookies, Zucchini Walnut Muffins ($5), customers won't leave without eating something.
Typewriters, plug outlets, jazz vibes, wheelchair accessibility, organic stuff, local craft beer, tasty cocktails, comfortable seating and coffee with flying swans. Yup, Page One thought of everything.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.