Kingston’s Favourite Café

favourite cafe, The Sleepless Goat, Kingston, OntarioLast week Kingstonians were given the sad news that one our favourite downtown establishments would be closing for good. The Sleepless Goat, a downtown ygk institution for over 20 years, was a worker’s co-operative, a huge supporter of the arts, and a welcoming, inclusive destination for those seeking fair-trade drinks, veg-friendly meals and homemade desserts. Sadly, The Goat closed its doors this past Friday after a valiant effort to stay open during hard times. A gofundme campaign was established to help pay the debts of the co-op’s members, who were footing the bill for broken down appliances and a hefty $7000.00/month rent. Although their goal has been met, they are continuing to accept donations and anything that goes beyond what is needed to close the café will go to another local initiative.

Keeping in mind the type of establishment that The Sleepless Goat was – a place where customers were welcome to stay for unlimited amounts of time, grab a bite or just a coffee, have access to wireless internet and even get a free meal through their free soup program – this week we’re thinking about other great Kingston establishments that offer a welcoming, home-away-from-home kind of atmosphere. While we are incredibly sad to see The Goat go, we’re  happy to say that Kingston still has a large number of locally owned, unique cafés to choose from. While none will ever be quite like The Goat, they have their own magic and comfort to offer customers.

In this context, we’re defining “café” as a place that is primarily focused on coffee, tea and an assortment of local food, often produced on-site. A place where you can grab a quick meal but it’s also perfectly acceptable to sit with a coffee and read a book or do some work on your laptop. Keeping this description in mind, this week we want to know:

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While we don’t particularly enjoy pitting our local businesses against each other (we think they’re all pretty great), we do like to know where Kingstonians love to hang out. So, don’t think of this poll as a question of who is the “best”, but more about having the opportunity to tell the community about your favourite place to go. Is there a haunt that we’ve missed? Whether it’s for the atmosphere, the people, the food or the drink, tell us which ygk café you love to visit.

Thanks to MP Tully for his painting of The Sleepless Goat. Buy a copy here.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

2 thoughts on “Kingston’s Favourite Café

  • We love the Healthy Beat Cafe! Everything homemade with fresh ingredients, gluten free options as well.

  • I was a regular at the Goat all the time I've lived here and I supported it to the end, despite that fact that it had been going downhill for a while. I think it could have been kept running, and brought in much needed investment had the co-op been opened up a bit more to be more of a community co-op than a pure workers' co-op but this idea was never taken up… anyway, it's a sad day.

    As for what we have left, the Common Market is the best straight-up café: very good coffee and pastries, and newspapers. That's pretty much all I want in the morning. For other times of day, Musiiki offers a nice combination of coffee and whisk(e)y and it's open-mic nights and other musical events are fun. I hope they can open the (secret) patio again in the summer…

    CoffeeEco isn't bad and Juniper is nice if you happen to be at, or passing by, the Tett Centre, although it's not worth trekking out there for the café alone.

    Otherwise, there are a lot of okay but not special places.

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