Hole in the Wall, Laptop Friendly

Cafe Lali

I definitely missed the opening moment of Cafe Lali (summer 2016) and I’m a bit upset I didn’t pass by until now. Sure, 6 months is still very new but nowadays, social media is faster than my personal schedule and the exponential growth of coffee shops in Montreal has been overwhelming. Still, the honeymoon period when you find a new cafe is irrelevant in the long run – instead, I prefer cafes that show long standing potential with enough individualism and passion to be able to last our now overly saturated cafe market. Lali is refreshing in that it is a hybrid of an art gallery and coffee shop. We’ve had barber shop and clothing store hybrids but to my knowledge, this is the first art gallery hybrid.

With a background in teaching, the owner, Anne Marie, has worked in a variety of fields including teaching in a circus before deciding to open up her own coffee shop. After taking courses at the barista academy in Toronto, she settled on opening Cafe Lali in Montreal as a joint business with her mother, Isabelle, who owns Carré des Artistes. Most of the artists are local, the pieces are rotated regularly and they are available to buy for anyone interested.

Cafe Lali is located less than 10 minutes from Georges Vanier metro and has enough seats for roughly 20 people. The main floor has window seats so it’s better for pairs, solo activities or grab and go. Upstairs, there is a large table and access to plugs and wifi for those who need to use their laptops for work or study. That said, if you see that the cafe is getting full, especially when it’s a smaller sized cafe, it’s polite to leave with your laptop unless you plan on ordering another drink to prolong your stay.

The shop serves a rotation between 49th Parallel and ZAB , a new local Montreal roast since Aug 2016 – check out Porte Filtre’s excellent article on them here (French). (Edit 06/30/2017: They now serve De Mello Coffee, a growing favourite in Montreal the past year. )My cappuccino was perfect, an extremely well-pulled espresso with silky micro bubbles for my foam. The viennoiseries are from Patisserie Lescurier and the baked goods are fresh since they are received frozen before they are baked in house by Anne Marie. There are also vegan options provided by Boulangerie Paradise. Tea lovers will find the usual Cammelia Sinensis and from what I heard, you should also try Lali’s Lindt hot chocolate.

Overall, Cafe Lali is a gorgeous shop with delicious espresso drinks and abundance of eye candy for those seeking inspiration in their daily lives. I like that they have both big tables for work/studying as well as small window stools for more intimate catch ups. Finally, considering that they have loyalty points cards  (tenth coffee free), Lali is a must visit.


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