Introducing: Café Pamenar, Kensington’s latest coffee shop and community hangout

Introducing: Café Pamenar, Kensington’s latest coffee shop and community hangout

(Image: Gizelle Lau) 

Pouria Lotfi has been dreaming of opening a coffee shop in downtown Toronto for over six years—he actually bought his La Marzocco Linea machine back in 2005. “A lot of good indie coffee places have opened since then,” he tells us, laughing. Wedged between Bikes On Wheels and Waterfalls Indian Tapas Bar, his new Café Pamenar in Kensington Market is something he hopes will not be just another indie coffee shop, but a community space for socializing and collaborating on projects.

Architect and designer Guido Constantino (the man behind Buca’s glorious room) helped convert the former residential space into a long, minimalist coffee shop: metal pipes with bare bulbs are used as lighting fixtures, and the coffee bar upfront is molded from poured cement. At the back are a handful of tables and a large communal one, ideal for breaking out laptops (and using the free Wi-Fi).  The south wall is being set up as a space for local artists and photographers to showcase their work while a wall at the front is overlaid with a chalkboard for café guests to share thoughts. Garage doors will open up the café to front and back patios during the summer. And, like every new shabby-chic space in the city, Café Pamenar features two eye-catching vintage pieces from Smash in the Junction (a measuring scale and a banner reading “25¢ viewing booths”).

Café Pamenar serves up espresso-based drinks from beans roasted by Victoria, B.C’s Discovery Coffee Roasters, including espressos and americanos ($2.38), macchiatos and five-ounce cappuccinos ($3.10), as well as regular-sized cappuccinos and lattes ($3.57).  A choice of French press blends stands in for the usual drip offerings.  For non-coffee drinkers, Lotfi serves a variety of teas ($1.90), as well as drinking chocolate from Arcaffè ($3.57). Small pastries from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and Circles and Squares start at $2 while a menu for soups, sandwiches, and panini is in the works.

Just don’t expect to find decaf at Café Pamenar anytime soon.  As Lotfi recently tweeted, “Decaffeinated coffee is the devil’s blend.”

Café Pamenar, 307 August Ave. (at Oxford St.), 647-352-3627,