For someone who has lived most of her life in Hamilton, ON, I have had plenty of opportunities to explore the city’s hidden treasures. Under the surface, this city gleams with magic. Some of this hidden magic can be found in even the smallest of places, like local Hamilton Cafés. Here are a few of my favourites.
RELAY Coffee Roasters
Tucked into the small side street, King William Street, in the heart of downtown Hamilton, RELAY Coffee Roasters is a cozy and cute café to make you feel like you are right at home.
Having the opportunity to speak with some of the friendly baristas, I learned that RELAY Coffee Roasters started from humble origins in Hamilton’s Farmer Market. RELAY, in the beginning, was a small but nostalgic coffee vendor. This beloved coffee shop is now continuing to sprout its seeds, growing its roots throughout the city.
Outfitted with soft grey couches and rust-colored brick walls, sitting at RELAY feels like wrapping up in a blanket on Christmas day. Beautiful and colorful artworks from local Hamilton artists line the walls. Curled up with a favorite book or favorite person, an ivory cup of steaming coffee in your hands.
RELAY is known for its slow drip brew method of roasting coffee, where fresh ground coffee beans are filtered with boiling hot water through a small funnel. This makes each drop have a perfect coffee taste. With coffee bean varieties from around the world, from Peru to Sumatra, RELAY Coffee Roasters take delicate care in providing the best coffee experience you could ask for.
Paisley Coffee House & Eatery
"Good Coffee. Good Eats. All from Scratch."
That is Paisley’s slogan, and they do not disappoint. With a dedication to using locally grown ingredients and seasonal food recipes, Paisley Coffee House & Eatery is the perfect place to grab a lunch and drink, no matter the season. Their menu is filled with a wide variety of store-made sandwiches and sweet treats, with a good portion being vegan or gluten-free.
Another perk about Paisley is its seasonal drink menu so that everyone can enjoy their delicious drinks, at all times of the year. Summer especially, is known for the light and fresh lemonades and fruity flavored iced teas.
Inside, Paisley gives you a warm and inviting atmosphere. It has a rustic interior design, bright wooden floors, and nature-inspired art pieces to add a splash of vibrant color.
Located in Westdale Village, Paisley Coffee House & Eatery is the perfect spot for university students and families alike.
Ward IV Coffee Bar
Located at the intersection of Main Street and Kenilworth Ave. S, Ward IV Coffee Bar is a bright and vibrant café to spend on a Saturday night. With its artisan sweets from local French pastry chefs to its elegant drink menu, Ward IV is a hidden gem that is easy to miss.
Although the space is small, and might not seem like much on the outside, stepping inside tells a different story. Decorated with honey-coloured string lights, cushioned bar seating, and authentic candlelit tables, the atmosphere is romantic and magical.
At Ward IV, the emphasis is on local Hamilton talent. Especially when it comes to live music. Throughout the spring and summer, Ward IV has a long list of weekly live events, Hamilton musicians are invited to perform, sharing their musical gifts and original song pieces with the local community. Sitting up close and personal, you get to experience Hamilton’s ever-growing music scene first-hand. Having attended multiple live music events at Ward IV, I have experienced the wide range of genres that Hamilton’s musicians have to offer. From soft rock played slowly on acoustic guitars to the up-beat cheerful rhythms of reggae, to the bluesy jazz notes of a saxophone.
The audience is friendly, the staff is fantastic, and the musicians are talented. Ward IV is, in itself, a small perfect family of Hamiltonians, one that I am happy to be part of.