The South End is one of the best spots in all of Halifax to grab a coffee. With its abundance of culture, vibrant downtown, students, and young professionals, many locally-owned cafés have emerged over the years. If you live in the area, we recommend grabbing your next coffee or tea at one of these ten cafes: they will not disappoint! This list is not exhaustive: if you can believe it, there are more than ten locally-owned cafes in the south end with high-quality service and products! These are just ten we visit often and wanted to share!
Close to Dalhousie University, Coburg Social is a popular meeting space for the students of the South End. We want to note, just because it is a student favourite doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out if you are a local! They serve North Mountain coffee and espresso (Roasted in Berwick, NS), have a selection of local beer and wine, and make delicious food too! We recommend the Coburg Breakfast sandwich: it is hearty and a great start to any morning! Owners Jane and Kelly grew up in the neighbourhood, and according to their website, the building that Coburg Social operates out of used to be a pharmacy where Kelly’s Grandfather worked as the pharmacist!
Bird’s Nest Café
Located on Barrington Street, the Bird’s Nest Café boasts an airy and bright seating area while the sweet smell of baked goods lingers in the air. Owned by Brandy Mueller, the Bird’s Nest doubles as a catering company. This is great news for those who wish to have their delicious breakfast or lunch at a meeting or event. Their paninis are made fresh daily and grilled to order: we recommend the ham and brie! Their coffee and espresso are also both locally sourced: they use both Java Blend Espresso (Roasted in the North End of Halifax), and Nova Coffee (Roasted in Kentville, NS)!
Weird Harbour Espresso Bar
Also located on Barrington Street, Weird Harbour is a small espresso bar with arguably the best vanilla oat milk lattes out there. This espresso bar is smaller than the others on the list, which gives it an intimate feel when you enter the doors. They have some of the most friendly staff around, and the small space makes interacting with them easy. Their customer seating looks out onto Barrington street, where you can watch the residents of the South end move about their day. Owned by Dan Weir, Weird Harbour announced on September 2, 2019, on their Facebook page, that they pay their employees a minimum of $15.00/hr plus health benefits! We love a cafe that supports its staff! They use Detour Coffee, which is Canadian-owned, and roasted in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dilly Dally Coffee Café
On Quinpool Street, you can find the Dilly Dally Cafe next to the Keep: The condo building that Andrew calls home! With some of the best baristas in the city (as voted by the readers of the Coast), the Dilly Dally is a funky little coffee shop that has bright and fun energy. They have delicious breakfast and lunch, local goods, and serve Java Blend coffee (roasted in the North End, Halifax). Their kitchen is powered by NSCC and Holland College graduates, and their owner Laura Draegar's goal is to make the Dilly Dally, the “neighbourhood fix” in the area. We think she has succeeded! Whether you are grabbing a coffee at 7am, or a glass of local wine after a hard day at work, the Dilly Dally can meet your needs and exceed your expectations! The name “Dilly Dally” itself invites you to sit and stay for a while, take your time, and relax in this cozy spot!
Wired Monk Bistro
Located on Morris Street, The Wired Monk serves its own line of organic and fair trade coffee and espresso. Their café name reflects the tale of how coffee became the beloved drink we have today: a monk discovering coffee beans through his sheep accidentally ingesting them and becoming “peppy”, to which he spread the word. You can read more about the legend on their site! This cafe is a great spot to have a breakfast sandwich or lunch: we recommend the morning monk wrap! They also host live music some nights! The Wired Monk is only steps away from the Halifax Waterfront, which gives its customers great access to the famous Waterfront Boardwalk!
Glitter Bean Café
Situated on Spring Garden Road, the Glitter bean is the first unionized cafe to arise in Halifax. This cafe is a worker-owned co-op that fosters a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community in our city! Allies and LGBTQ+ community members love this cafe for their locally roasted coffee from Just Us (Roasted in Wolfville, NS), local baked goods made by the Tart and Soul and Schoolhouse Bakery, and their colourful drinks such as their rainbow lattes! The Glitter Bean is always going above and beyond to support Indigenous, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ initiatives - you can check out their current actions by following them on social media. If you or a friend of yours is an activist at heart, the glitter bean is the café for you!
Trident Book Seller’s Cafe
Book lovers rejoice! This bookstore/café located on Hollis Street will transform you into the past with its vintage style and library atmosphere. The blended smell of used books and fresh coffee makes everyone in the cafe cozy and nostalgic. Coffee beans are roasted on-site, and their baked goods are to die for. We recommend trying their fresh croissants! Founded in 1992, this cafe and bookstore has a lot of history in the neighbourhood, and has been the local residents' go-to for many years. Trident is our team member Jordan’s favourite cafe on the list! Owners Tracy Stevens, Hudson and Janet Shotwell strove to maintain its vintage aesthetic to emulate the original Trident Café the owners founded in Boulder, Colorado.
Situated on Barrington street, Cabin Coffee takes you out of the city and into a cottage in the middle of the Downtown Core. This café is family-run: it’s been a tradition in the owners' family for many family members to take a turn behind the counter. Their menu offers many family recipes, such as their seedy breakfast bars and their Halifamous Cinnamon buns. Cabin coffee has been operating for 20+ years and remains a locals favorite. Their coffee is from Java Blend (Roasted in the North End of Halifax) and their bagels are made locally at Izzy’s Bagels in Bedford! This cafe really helps you slow down from the hustle and bustle of Halifax!
Cafe Taiyaki 52
Cafe Taiyaki is a Japanese dessert cafe located on Brunswick Street. They specialize in their unique waffles called Tayaki in Japanese. Their food and drinks are not only delicious but are beautiful too. Have your phone ready to capture your meal! Their coffee is also Java Blend (Java Blend is one of the main suppliers in the city as you can probably tell from this post), and we highly recommend their soft serve: it tastes even better than it looks if you can believe it! Owner Sophie Lee came to Halifax from Vancouver and noticed that there were no cafés in the area serving taiyaki: a childhood dish that was close to her heart. We are so happy that Sophia introduced this delicious treat to our local food scene!
The Daily Grind Café and Bar
If you are spending time on the Halifax Waterfront, you should stop into the Daily Grind! Located in Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street, the Daily Grind Café and Bar is your one-stop-shop for coffee and cocktails! Owned by Scott Maclean and David Flemming, this café was established in 2017 as a space to celebrate local artists through art display and sale, and doubles as an event space for local residents to host business meetings, parties, and more! Their coffee is supplied by Anchor Coffee (Roasted in Dartmouth, NS) and their espresso is from Java Blend (Roasted in the North End of Halifax). We recommend trying their chipotle clubhouse sandwich or one of their delicious smoothie bowls!
This list does not even scratch the surface on how many delicious and high quality local cafés there are in Halifax. We are so proud of our city’s local food scene, and we know if you visit any of the cafés on this list, you will be impressed. A Café visit is a must when exploring the South End!