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Hamilton’s 10 best coffee shops that opened in 2018

Hamilton’s coffee scene continued to boom in 2018 with a new coffee shop opening every month on average. With this influx of new cafes to choose from, we’ve put together this list to help you prioritize exactly which cafes you need to hit up first.

Here are our picks for Hamilton’s 10 best coffee shops that opened in 2018.

  The Mustard Seed Co-op

While the Mustard Seed has operated out of Hamilton for several years, it was only this fall that this co-op grocery store constructed a new outdoor patio to enjoy coffee on.

Being located on York Boulevard, the patio can get a bit noisy but with the help of drawn curtains and string lights, this outdoor seating area can feel pretty snug and secluded.


  Bring Your Dog Cafe

A new dog cafe entered the scene this year with Bring Your Dog Cafe. It’s Hamilton’s largest dog cafe by square footage and offers the largest play area for dogs as well.

If you’re looking to treat yourself as your dog plays and interacts with others, the cafe has an excellent selection of baked goods to choose from including fresh-made pastries, muffins, and cakes. If you’re in the mood for something a bit heartier, you can’t go wrong with their delicious Home-Style Chili & Chili Dogs or their famous Home-Style Mac ‘N Cheese Goulash.

Whether you have a dog or not, Bring Your Dog Cafe has a welcoming atmosphere and being a close distance from Mohawk College, it wouldn’t at all surprise me if this becomes the cafe of choice for students to relax and de-stress.


  Waypoint Games and Cafe

Dundas finally got a board game cafe this February. It’s a welcome addition to this part of the city and has a ton of seating area — more than Mancala Monk!

While you can expect hundreds of board games to browse through, a unique aspect of this cafe is their corner couches that has a TV set up ready to play games from select consoles. They also host regular Magic: The Gathering tournaments on the weekend.

Waypoint Games and Cafe is also licenced so in addition to coffee and tea, you can get yourself a beer if you so please.


  Stir It Up! Cafe

After being hit by vandals prior to opening, it was hard to say if Stir It Up would even open at all. Fortunately for us, they did and we’re thrilled as the cafe is so freaking cute.

Exposed brick walls, a warm colour palette, and varied seating options — there’s a lot here to make the cafe feel cozy. They serve a number of delicious baked goods to choose from, including some unique flavours of buttertarts like double chocolate and maple bacon.

The only downside is that the seating is right at the front of the cafe so when the front door opens in the winter, a blast of cold air hits patrons.


  Doughboy Donuts

While Doughboy has been operating since last year, the donut shop underwent a change of ownership over the summer that included a revamp of the products, menus, and interior. The current owner is working hard to restore the reputation of the donut shop and outside of keeping the name, should be treated as a new cafe.

Having spent our morning here the other day, we can attest to the improved quality of these wonderful fried dough confections. The donuts have gone from decent to exceptional and truly give some of the better known Hamilton establishments a run for their money.

What we still can’t wrap our heads around are how these donuts are entirely vegan. Through genius baking techniques, the donuts achieve a level of softness and taste that quite honestly outperforms most of the donuts in this city — and that’s without the use of eggs or milk!

Doughboy Donuts does a wonderful job of fusing old school diner elements with a modern kitchen and menu. It’s a fair bit away from the city’s core but very much worth the visit.


  Donut Monster

Donut Monster has been such a staple to Hamilton’s donut scene that it’s hard to believe their brick-and-mortar store isn’t even a full year old.

After three years of business, Donut Monster expanded beyond being just a donut supplier to become a full-fledged business open seven days a week.

Donut Monster’s donuts are yeast-risen and soft with a light chew. Their menu is ever evolving, featuring unique seasonal glazes and flavour combinations you may have never tried before. As an inclusive eatery, Donut Monster offers both vegan and traditional options.

Their flavours are innovative, their staff are courteous, and as a company they are a true representation of the ability to do anything in Hamilton.


  Cafe Baffico

Having opened only mid-December, Cafe Baffico won our hearts the moment we walked through the door.

Being greeted by the owner in person and then being treated to some complimentary fresh-baked sourdough bread, this Italian inspired cafe understands the importance of connecting with your guests and making them feel at home.

All of the cups and dishes were sourced from a local potter who created the earthenware by hand. More local love is displayed through their tables which were made by a staff member as well as through the local brews they keep on tap.

The cafe also prides itself on the size of its kitchen relative to the total square footage. This has allowed for larger equipment and the freedom for chefs to experiment baking fresh bread, pizza, and croissants. The latter of which are so freaking good that when the time comes to make a top 10 list for best croissants, Cafe Baffico will almost certainly take the number one spot.

At 3 pm the cafe closes to transform and reopen two-and-a-half hours later for dinner serving pasta, meats, cheeses, and pizza.


  Emerald Coffee Co.

This geometric themed cafe made its appearance on the corner of Barton and Emerald earlier this year and has been a Hamilton favourite ever since.

The white tiles operate in contrast to the reclaimed wood on sections of the wall while the gold light fixtures add a fantastic shine to the black, faux tin ceiling. Hexagonal mirrors line the walls, and pops of emerald green find their way throughout the cafe. Don’t even get us started on the stunning pop art vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom!

The pastries served at Emerald Coffee Co. are all made locally. Eric, a baker out of Kitchen Collective, creates the butter tarts and Donut Monster supplies their donuts.

The mugs they serve coffee in ties into their geometric theme, and despite the espresso cup not being the traditional size and shape, who can deny their charm?


  Synonym Shop

Coffee, art, and books combine at Synonym Shop! Art design is infused into the space and unique books can be taken off the shelves to enjoy together in groups; Synonym creates conversations and nurtures curiosity.

The aesthetic at this James North shop is unified in its white and wooden finishes, from the painted brick walls to their 3-inch thick table tops and hardwood flooring. The white granite countertop with its earthy speckles of colour is refreshing and the front windows allow for tremendous light to illuminate the entire cafe.

Synonym Shop almost has two sides to it as in the morning they serve brunch items like quiche and avocado toast and by evening the menu flips to craft beer and wines. Visiting in the evening can bring in live acts, vinyl release parties, and colourful lighting — it’s an entirely different experience than when you go in the morning. If you’re an artist, you have to check this spot out!


  Nuttybutter Cafe

This Parisian inspired cafe has made waves ever since they opened. The level of architecture and design goes beyond anything Hamiltonians would expect for downtown. Passing through the doors of Nuttybutter transports you right into Paris.

There’s only three categories of items to choose from: macarons, vegan gelato, and coffee. Seemingly minimalistic yet all very complex in flavour. Take the macarons for instance — a dessert you’ve almost certainly enjoyed in the past.

Yet eating a macaron here is like trying the dessert for the first time as the macaron’s construction has been meticulously crafted and perfected from the years of practice co-owner Ishi spent operating out of an actual Paris shop. The result is a dessert so tasty, it’ll almost make you weep a tear of joy.

That’s the case for everything at this cafe: uncomplicated selection with a deep understanding of what makes each of their items authentic. This is one of the few cafes in Hamilton I have no fear in recommending because I don’t think it’s possible to have a bad experience here.


Looking to explore more LOCAL cafes? Then be sure to explore our search page!

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What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!

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