Kristin Archer talking with Ark + Anchor co-owner Patrick Guilbault

Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar 300 King Street West

By Kristin Archer
Photos by Lisa Vuyk

Hamilton is on fire right now! I can’t keep up. Over four and a half years into the blog, and people sometimes ask if I still have places to visit and if I’m still having fun doing this. Yes and YES!

The coffee culture here, in particular, is really booming right now. It just makes sense that we should have a solid, locally-run coffee shop in every neighbourhood. Each one in town has its own vibe, its own coffee stylings, and friendly faces who greet you. Getting to know the owners and staff is part of what makes the experience too.

Kristin Archer talking with Ark + Anchor co-owner Patrick Guilbault
Kristin Archer talking with co-owner Patrick Guilbault. Photo by Lisa Vuyk

It was exciting to hear about the arrival of Ark + Anchor, located just ’round the corner from The Casbah. It was like a new frontier for a coffee shop to land! Right from my first visit, I loved the space. It’s so bright and clean, with its white walls and ceiling, pops of bright colour here and there, bookshelf (always a plus!), bags of coffee, Ark + Anchor t-shirts and mugs, and a beautiful wooden staircase.

Lisa and I started chatting with co-owners Patrick Guilbault and Yigi Chang. They’re from Toronto and would often visit friends who had recently moved to Hamilton. Patrick and Yigi wanted to open up their own business, but it was just a question of where. I’m happy they put their anchor down in Hamilton!

Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk
Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk
Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk

Ark + Anchor doesn’t have your traditional coffee shop drink menu posted, but don’t be afraid to ask, as Patrick knows his stuff! The way he describes coffee is unlike anyone I’ve heard before. I’m not a coffee connoisseur and can’t describe it to save my life, but adjectives were used and I just went for it – “Yes! Latte, please!”

Latte at Ark + Anchor
Photo by Lisa Vuyk
Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk

And then there’s upstairs! “Ooohs and Ahhhhs” were exclaimed as soon as we reached the top. The space is gorgeous! The mirrors really open it up and the natural light is stunning. There is minimal décor – tables, chairs, chalkboard, a few plants. We instantly made ourselves at home. Visiting shortly before they closed for the day, we were the last ones in there, making it a prime photo shoot opportunity.

Kristin Archer at Ark + Anchor
Kristin at Ark + Anchor. Photo by Lisa Vuyk

I returned again on my own, which brings us to something I’ve never done – blog about a spot while sitting in their spot! How meta. Ark + Anchor is just so darn lovely that I was dying to come back with my laptop. I chose my little table upstairs around 10:30am with a latte, and had a really productive day. Often in coffee shops, you put your headphones on and hunker down, oblivious to your surroundings, but at Ark & Anchor it was so enjoyable to be present. I even ran into my friend Anna of Young Lions Music Club, who was there working away as well.

Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk

I hung out all day and they had everything I needed. For lunch, I tried their delicious egg salad sandwich, and had to stop what I was doing to devote my entire attention to it! Organic eggs, local dill, shallot, arugula, and flash pickles on country baguette. The bread is amazing. How often do you get a good baguette?

They also have a Hummus Plate: organic chickpeas, garlic, lemon, tahini, shallots, served with apples, greens, and a baguette. You can also get organic PB&J on a baguette and a granola & yogurt bowl, which both sound yummy as well. And every coffee shop needs baked goods! They have a small selection, and now serve Donut Monster! What more could you want?

You’ll see me again soon, Ark + Anchor!

Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar
Photo by Lisa Vuyk
kristin
ihearthamiltontour@gmail.com
Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing an influential social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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