A review of an independent coffee house, Prado Cafe (Vancouver downtown Eastside branch). Notes are by an amateur coffee enthusiast and shoestring digital nomad. Descriptions are equal parts coffee and remote-work suitability. Most photos are shot with a second-hand Fujifilm X100.

prado cafe cappuccino

6oz cappuccino at Prado Cafe (Gastown) — Photo by Athena Lam

Cafe Overview:

prado cafe gastown

Prado Cafe sits on East Hastings in the Downtown East Side– Photo by Athena Lam

Since its beginnings on Commercial Drive before Third Wave Coffee took over Vancouver, Prado Cafe has expanded to include 2 additional locations. One is at Fraser, and the other one is in the gentrified Downtown Eastside between Gastown and Chinatown.

prado cafe gastown

Spacious seating — Photo by Athena Lam

As one of the many revitalised buildings in the district, Prado has kept subtle details such as the wooden floorboards and the mantle of the unused fireplace. The interior’smetallicc chairs are true to its no-frills Commercial Drive roots and gesture to bygone decades.

Free Wi-Fi is available, but I didn’t notice plugs.

prado cafe gastown

A range of in-house baked goods & health foods at Prado — Photo by Athena Lam

The cafe menu, in contrast, is up-to-date with current trends (think home-made granola). The cafe makes everything in-house and visitors can choose from a range of baked goods and light meal items. The health conscious can probably find something suitable.

prado cafe gastown

A pretty cool menu approach — Photo by Athena Lam

prado cafe cappuccino

Drink options include a 4oz macchiato and 6 oz cappuccino — Photo by Athena Lam

My cappuccino was well frothed, but the actual coffee was, sadly, watery. This is surprising given the standard that Prado should have, and that Vancouver drinks come with standard double shots. However, given the reputation of the owner, and my positive impression of their Commercial Drive home branch, I would be willing to try this location again.

Also, as a local tip, tea drinkers can try a London Fog is a drink that originated in Vancouver.

Prado Cafe Story / What I Like About Them:

prado cafe gastown

Prado’s glass walls are great for watching the characters that pass by — Photo by Athena Lam

I have a particular attachment to the area around Pidgeon Park, a congregation point for Vancouver’s homeless and left behind. Before independent cafes like Nelson the Seagull and Prado started cropping up after the area’s revitalisation, many Vancouverites would opt to circle around the streets between Gastown and Chinatown. However, Prado’s home on The Drive was also once a slightly rough area, home to people with lower incomes. I was glad to see it open directly on East Hastings when it could have chosen a “safer” street just a block or two over.


prado cafe gastown

Not bad for meetings — Photo by Athena Lam

Another part of the Prado story is that Sammy Piccolo (and his family) deserve a lot of credit for building Vancouver’s Third Wave Coffee foundation. Prado Cafe’s owner-operator, Sammy Piccolo is a four-time Canadian Barista Champion, first ever winner of World Latte Art Championship, winner at the Coffee Fest Latte Art Championship, and four-time top-three placement for Canada at the World Barista Championships.

He was also a partner at Caffé Artigiano, a popular Vancouver coffee chain that was sold in 2005, and is a current partner at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, a family business. I’ll be honest — Caffé Artigiano I have always disliked for a variety of reasons despite visiting many times with friends; 49th Parallel, however, I love.

prado cafe 49th parallel

Prado Cafe serves local Vancouver roaster 49th Parallel Coffee — Photo by Athena Lam

Finally, many of Vancouver’s independent cafes take a stance on supporting local, which I personally appreciate given the Lower Mainland’s abundance of fertile farmland. Prado is no different. Their food is made with free range eggs, and mostly local and organic ingredients.

prado cafe gastown

Prado is a great place for people watching in Vancouver’s historically rough neighbourhood — Photo by Athena Lam

Good For:

  • Coffee: 49th Parallel beans, espressos
  • Food: Pastries, light snacks.
  • Cafe Space:
  • Friends: Hangouts, catching up, reading
  • Workspace: Handful of tables, communal table
  • Remote Work: Free Wi-Fi available
Address:  100 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8
Website:  Website / Facebook
Hours: Weekdays: 7:00am-6:00pm
Weekends: 8:00am-5:00pm

If you liked this post, check out my post Vancouver Coffee Rides: Gastown and East Van.

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