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It might not be snowmageddon outside, but these drearier January days do call for a warm cuppa something to get us through the coldest season of the year.
We’re in a bit of a sweet spot in Vancouver right now when it comes to the hot drinks on offer throughout the city, with holiday-themed fare in the rearview and Hot Chocolate Fest on the horizon.
But before we get into all that chocolatey goodness, we figured we’d give a shoutout to some of our favourite spots to stop by for any sort of hot bevvy to warm our frozen fingers, soothe our (still sore from that December cold) throats, and take the edge off of those Dry January cravings.
Koko Monk Hot Chocolate Lounge - 2883 West Broadway
As the only Straight staffer born and raised in a different city (and province… and country… and continent), part of me thought I should pay homage to my British roots by suggesting somewhere to get a lovely cup of tea. But the bigger part of me thought, fuck that, it’s rainy and I want a hot chocolate.
Koko Monk’s hot-chocolate-only joint is a reminder that there’s more than one kind of warm bean juice to wrap your mitts around on a chilly day. The menu is surprisingly expansive, offering selections flavoured with orange zest and spices; tomato, raspberry, and rose; clove and cardamom; or ginger and pineapple, to name just a few. Everything is dairy-free, with most selections also vegan, so you get to feel especially smug about how your top-tier liquid chocolate is also not involved in the dairy-industrial complex. Win-win! -VW
Novella - 2650 Main St.
Well someone had to mention the new kid on the block. And no, it’s not just to have an excuse to plagiarize/link to the article we wrote about the Mount Pleasant cafe before it opened in November; the drinks are actually damn good, too.
It’s clear from walking into Novella that attention to detail was a must when Boxset Collective—which also backs Bar Susu and Published on Main—decided to open what has become one of Vancouver’s most sought-after brunch spots.
…Which might be Novella’s only real downfall, because this is absolutely not the kind of coffee shop you should be bringing a book or laptop to and spending the next three hours hunkered down beside an outlet.
But if you’re the type that likes to get in, grab a coffee (or London Fog, or hot chocolate, or cocktail(!) or glass of wine (!!)), down a croissant, and head out before the hurry-it-up looks from the neverending line of caffeine-fiends cut you to shreds, then you’re not going to find a more delicious spot than this.
Just don’t oversleep too hard—the place closes at 3. - CW
Le Marche St. George - 4393 St. George St.
Part cafe, part general store, all loving and lived in, Le Marche is the coziest neighbourhood spot in the city. Tucked away on a tree-lined street in a beautiful old character home—owned by the Larsens, a family of artists (Janaki Larsen is world-renowned ceramicist)—it immediately envelops you in a warm, welcoming, and decidedly European feel as soon as you walk through the door. With its rustic decor, delicious coffee and hot chocolate, rotating menu of freshly made quiche, crepes, and pastries, as well as a healthy selection of locally made jam, ice cream, dry goods, and linens, you’ll want to curl up and spend the entire day here. Or move in permanently. - YS
Caffe Artigiano - 4010 Main St.
I reject the premise of this article. Best place for a hot drink? Come on. There is no best. We’re a city suffering a glut of great coffee and tea…and hot chocolate, I suppose, if you like that kind of thing. All of the places listed here are most excellent, as is Pallet, which is probably the best coffee chain in the city because it has arguably the best breakfast sandwich in the Lower Mainland. There’s also Small Victory on South Granville. There’s Revolver in Gastown, and Nelson the Seagull, also in Gastown, and Moja on the Drive, and Modus beside Sports Junkies, and Prototype in Strathcona. No. There is no best. I’m not doing this.
But if you want to talk about my favourite place to get a hot cuppa mud, that’s a whole different story: Cafe Artigiano at Main and King Edward. Not because the coffee’s amazing—it’s fine, above average, really—but because it’s just a great room to sit in and work, or read, or just stare out the wall of windows as the world rolls on by. It’s spacious and bright, with no time limits really on the amount of time you can stay there. Plus, private bathrooms, which are important if you spend too much time in one place, drinking too much coffee. I’ve spent hours on end here (at the cafe, not the bathroom) working and writing. When you need a home office away from home, consider this. - SS