I was walking around downtown looking for Tequila Bookworm, because a friend had told me about this amazing dig that they’d found on Queen Street. After getting off at Yonge, I decided to just walk from the station, and take my time getting there. It wasn’t until I had been walking for a solid half-hour that I realized I had missed it completely, and was in fact in another part of town. There are no bright, bold signs outside telling you where you are; the name of the bar is actually in yellow lettering on the glass window of the store. Keep your eyes open as you’re on Queen, but if you manage to find the place, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The inconspicuous signage on the exterior reflects the mood on the inside. This is no ordinary coffee shop. It feels like a cross between a back-alley pub and a classic diner. You’re greeted by a bar that stretches down one side of Tequila Bookworm, with an impressive selection of beer, wine, and other alcoholic delights. Down the other side of the first floor, there are bookshelves with a whole variety of reading material. The entire first floor is rather narrow, getting progressing dimmer the further in you are seated. Walking into the store felt very much like you were removing yourself from the outside; the atmosphere inside helps keep you in the comfort zone that Tequila Bookworm creates. There’s also a second floor with extra seating and a cozier, more comfortable feel, which is ideal if you’re willing to invest a few extra hours and maybe finish a book or two over a cup of coffee. To top it all off, there’s free WIFI Internet for those of us who are more tech savvy and prefer the here-and-now to the classics.
Tequila Bookworm offers a full menu to choose from: alcohol, coffee, and real food, from a kitchen that can really whip up a decent meal. Don’t expect gourmet steak or angel pasta (who would, from a coffee shop?), but they make a killer soup and sandwich combo if you’re looking for a bite to eat while you enjoy your coffee. I would definitely recommend the soup of the day if you’re looking for a non-caffeine drink alternative. Queen Street has a reputation for being an artsy, creative part of Toronto, and Tequila Bookworm fits perfectly into this neighbourhood’s patchwork makeup.
Tequila Bookworm Profile
512 Queen Street West
Mon - Wed: 11:00 am - 12:00 am /Thurs: 11:00 am - 1:00 am
Fri - Sat: 11:00 am - 2:00 am
Sun: 11:00 am - 12:00 am
Coffee $1.75 (small), $2.25 (large)
Espresso $2 (small) $3 (double)
Tea $2.25 (regular)
Smoothies $4 (small), $5 (large)
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: Tequila Bookworm is on Queen Street, just west of Spadina at Denison Avenue. Your best bet for parking is either street-side paid parking or paid lots closer to Spadina.
By bus: Take the subway to Queen Station, and take the westbound streetcar to Denison Avenue.