starbucks locations toronto

15 great indie coffee shops near Starbucks locations in Toronto

Indie coffee shops often end up unsettlingly close to locations of Starbucks, no matter who was there first. Some are even just across the street or a few steps away, begging the question: why get the same frapp as everyone else when you could support a local business and drink better coffee while you're at it?

Here are some indie coffee shops that make great alternatives to your local Starbucks.

The Common 

Keep this cafe in Bloorcourt packed to the rafters with coffee drinkers and laptop users in favour of lining up at the new Starbucks across the street from Gladstone Library.

Crema Coffee

Instead of heading into the Starbucks in this colourful neighbourhood, pop into this Junction cafe across the street for a much more local experience.

Jimmy’s Coffee

The multi-level Starbucks at Queen and Ossington might be good for a quick pit stop with its multiple bathrooms, but this cafe on Ossington just steps north across the street is where you'll find the locals.

Mercury Espresso

One of Toronto's original indie coffee shops still holds strong in Leslieville despite a Starbucks just across the street at Queen and Logan.

mercury espresso toronto

Mercury Espresso maintains a devoted following in Leslieville among the anti-Starbucks crowd. Photo by Jesse Milns.

Hot Black

This Queen West cafe has won awards for their interiod design and their coffee, so take that, Starbucks across the street.

Bud's Coffee Bar

The nearby Starbucks can't measure up to the giant garage door that fully opens to the street at this Beaches' favourite.

Rooster Coffee House

The friendly vibes at this spot near King and Berkeley will make any cafe lover forget all about the boring dark green colour scheme of Starbucks around the corner. 

Pilot Coffee

If you happen to be in First Canadian Place, head to this outpost of a local roaster on the lower level instead of settling for one of the two Starbucks nearby.


This coffee pocket in Yorkville is a much more appropriately stylish place to grab an espresso than the plain old Starbucks right next door.


This cafe is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Starbucks at Roncesvalles and Dundas, and is a way smaller indie business. 

hot black toronto

You can't beat the interior design at Hot Black on Queen West. Photo by Hector Vasquez.

Thor Espresso Bar 

Hidden just up the street on John barely seconds from a Starbucks on Queen West, this cafe uses artisanal beans, and has a little bit of Insta-worthy interior design to boot. 

De Mello Palheta

The baristas at this cafe near Yonge and Eglinton offer a fantastic experience to your visit compared the the nearby 'bucks. Expect latte art and locally roasted beans at their finest.

Lit Espresso Bar

You can get booze and pizza as well as coffee at this Bloor West Village cafe—what Starbucks can say that? Certainly not the one just steps away in this area.


When Yonge and Temperance has a cafe as beautiful as this once, why bother with the cookie-cutter confines of the Starbucks just up the street?


This location of a trusted indie cafe at the Toronto Reference Library is a more serene and studious place to hit the books than the Starbucks down the road closer to Yonge and Bloor.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns at Mercury Espresso bar

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