There’s a chance you may have missed Tango Palace Coffee House on your travels along Queen St. East. The sign above the door on the north side of Queen just west of Jones is attractively maintained with gilt paint and stylish letters.

The place is small and often busy, but service always prompt and friendly. Take a moment to look around the funky Victorian interior, as the welcoming decor includes the famous plaster angel presiding over patrons at round cabriole-footed tables, a reclining mannequin near the back, and a massive brass Elektra coffee machine with (yet another) angel atop.

The coffee features BC’s Kicking Horse as well as Hale coffee, a decaf, Kenyan, a Mocha Java and a Colombian Dark, as well as plenty of tea options, and a fair trade emphasis. The staff remember names and faces not only charmingly, but much better than a generic cafe. Gluten free cookies, vegan squares and biscotti are sheltered beneath glass domes above a pastry display also stocked with freshly made sandwiches. A delicious soup is available in the winter months.

The pressed tin ceiling above is the real thing, and the Tiffany-style hanging glass lamps make the place feel particularly welcoming at night. Warning: the beautiful tables can be slightly tippy, so don’t bump them as you set down your drinks! The front door would be difficult to navigate for wheelchairs and there is a step. In the summer, low-slung chairs adorn the area on the sidewalk next the sandwich board sign, and coffees have been delivered outside, as well as it being a pleasant place to sip and people watch.

Generally there are one or two quiet book readers in the place, and there is often a couple having a romantic conversation. It is also common in Tango Palace for people to strike up a conversation with strangers, or with others they see around the ‘hood. Finally, the art on the walls always features a local artist, (Full Disclosure: I had a show there) and coffee-house style theatre performances often occur there as well.

Next time you are trying to hook up with an Eastender mention this place and see if they don’t jump at the chance to join you there for great coffee and a heart-to-heart chat. There is also a view of the westbound streetcar stop a block down, and the bus stop that turns up Jones Ave, so if you position yourself properly, you can even pay your tab and sprint like mad to catch a ride home together with a hot to-go cup in one hand.

Highly recommended to check this place out.

About the Author

SK Dyment has been a cartoonist and illustrator for many years and has been published in over two dozen Canadian indy magazines and journals. SK loves sketching passing interpretations of intriguing people in pen-and-ink, and is often seen attending various activist-oriented events around Toronto. He is also available for quick illustrations of all sorts as well as more serious forms of illustration. SK Dyment maintains a website @