The café at Yaletown’s Leisure Center boutique is the newest addition to the 22,000-square-foot, avant-garde space conceived and curated by Mason Wu and MuYun Li. Formerly the shop’s “well-being bar,” which previously exclusively served herbal teas and tonics, the 16-seat café occupies the northeast corner of the store and provides a laid-back retreat for visitors among monstera fronds, fiddle leaf figs, and shelves of succulents from Celsia Florist and Kermodi Living Art. The cozy seating area is surrounded by wallpaper depicting a cartoon Parisian cityscape designed by Paris design studio OMY. Inspired by colouring books, the wall is currently black and white, but will become an interactive feature, allowing guests to colour in the illustrations.
The vision for the repurposed warehouse has always been to create a space for shoppers to escape the responsibilities of everyday living and find sanctuary among clothing, beauty products, and homewares chosen and presented like modern art pieces in a gallery. The addition of the café infuses the shop with a true sense of leisure; transforming the retail space into an urban haven in which you’ll want to linger. Its serene atmosphere is augmented by the café’s carefully selected snacks. The menu was created by chef Jefferson Alvarez of Cacao, and guests are encouraged to sit back and enjoy small-plate sandwiches and salads that are as stunning as they are delicious. Those who prefer a sweet treat can choose from a selection of ornate pastries from Butter Mere Patisserie and Off On Wednesdays shortbread cookies; perhaps the most delectable versions of the simple dessert you will ever taste.
Keeping customer’s wellness in mind, Leisure Center serves juice from Vancouver’s own UPJUS alongside tonic elixirs from The Alchemist’s Kitchen. The New York–based brand has six beverages on Leisure Center’s menu that offer holistic health support for circulation, energy, immunity, mood, relaxation, and even libido. Rounding out the list of healthy sips are herbal infusions by UK clean beauty brand, Dr. Jackson’s.
While the brand of coffee the shop will be serving has yet to be announced, fans of the store can rest assured that his selection will be only the best of the best. The meticulous eye for detail and an emphasis on an exquisite customer experience reaches into every corner of the space: from the VIP fitting rooms attended by personal shoppers, to the record-listening lounge where vinyl is played through two vintage Klipschorn floor standing speakers. The café at Leisure Center not only rounds out the shop’s atmosphere of intentional recreation—it also makes a convincing bid for your new favourite lunch hour spot.
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