Vancouver has always been a coffee city. Nabob was founded in Gastown in 1896, coffee shops paired with news stands and bus stops throughout its history, and we had the first Starbucks outside of the USA. We also had the infamous corner of Starbucks and Starbucks at Thurlow and Robson, until recently.
With the rise of craft and artisanal businesses, we have a new coffee boom with independent shops making a comeback alongside local roasters.
Locally owned JJ Bean has 17 corporately owned stores, Caffe Artigiano owns 16, Blenz is a franchise with 60 stores in B.C., and Bean Around the World has 21 mostly licensed stores, to name some of the larger local leaders.
JJ Bean owner John Neate Jr., whose grandfather started Neate’s Coffee in Vancouver in 1945, ballparks Starbucks’ Lower Mainland store-count at 400 and growing. [Source: Bean Around The World/Vancouver Sun]
Taking a look through the Vancouver archives, photos of coffee shops depict fascinating urban scenes, and make me wonder whatever happened to the Star Weekly magazine empire?…
10 Vintage Vancouver Coffee Shop Photos
1937. Tram News Stand and Coffee Shop illuminated at night in the BC Electric Building at 425 Carrall St. Photographer: James Crookall. Archives# CVA 260-778.
1933. Roof fire at the National Lunch Coffee Shop. Photographer: Stuart Thomson. Archives# CVA 99-2803.
1940s. Grandview Highway bus outside the Bus Stop Coffee Shop. Photographer: Jack Lindsay. Archives# CVA 1184-3269.
1940s. Pedestrians outside the A.B.C. Coffee Shop, 3700 E Hastings. Photographer: Jack Lindsay. Archives# CVA 1184-3277.
1946. Cafe Casa Loma. Photographer: Jack Lindsay. Archives# CVA 1184-3261.
1940s. Richards Coffee Shop & Confectionary at Richards and Dunsmuir. Photographer: Jack Lindsay. Archives# CVA 1184-3280.
1946. Don’t Argue Coffee Shop on Hastings. Creator: Donn Williams. Archives# CVA 586-4394.
1955. Empire Building at Hastings and Seymour. Photographer: Walte E. Frost. Archives# CVA 447-329.
1959. Smitty’s Coffee Shop at Granville and Cordova. Photographer: Walter E. Frost. Archives# CVA 447-325.
1974. 300 West Pender St south side. Archives# CVA 778-268.