Lifestyle

The community café for students and creatives

Manager of Postino Naomi Mathe, poses in front of the counter on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Mathe worked as a barista before she was hired as manager of the cafe last August. (Photo by Deborah Mebude/SAIT Polytechnic)

Manager of Postino Naomi Mathe, poses in front of the counter on Thursday, March 3, 2016. Mathe worked as a barista before she was hired as manager of the cafe last August. (Photo by Deborah Mebude/SAIT Polytechnic)

Finding a spot to both hit the books and unwind can be difficult, but thankfully a neighbourhood café is helping bridge that gap.

Postino Café and Lounge, located a short drive from SAIT, is one of the newest cafés in the city providing a welcoming space for students to kick back.

“I think you walk in and it feels different,” said Postino’s manager Naomi Mathe.

“It’s a café for everybody. We’ve seen everyone from seniors to babies.”

Having undergone extensive renovations since its initial construction three years ago, Postino reopened in January 2015.

“Physically it looks different than other coffee shops,” said Mathe. “It’s got an industrial vibe and feels like a lounge.”

With a unique v-shaped layout and windows that span its walls from ceiling to floor, the cafe has a warm and modern flair.

“I am in love with the lighting in the café,” said barista Kaelin McNally.

“The walls of windows on both sides let in so much natural light. On a clear day, the sunsets are unreal.”

Quiet yet lively, the Postino employees set a relaxed tone with an eclectic mix of folk, indie, R&B and alternative music.

“The atmosphere we choose to create is, for lack of a better word, chill,” said Mathe.

Adult colouring books and community event postings make it a true home away from home.

“If you are stressed and come into Postino, we will try to get to know you on a personal level and make your day a little less stressful,” said barista Brianna Solberg.

Located at 2520 Capitol Hill Crescent N.W., Postino is within walking distance of the university train station, and so is easily accessible to SAIT students.

“It’s quiet enough to hear each other while studying,” said Mathe.

“It’s really all the things you want as a student: food, coffee and free Wi-Fi.”

Postino offers healthy options at student-friendly prices.

Everything from paninis to quinoa bowls to a variety of pastries comprise the menu, but the staff are always willing to make food on request.

“Just today, a guy came in and asked Brianna to make him her special cookies,” said Mathe.

The most popular pastry is the morning glory muffin, which, like all the baking in the shop, is baked fresh daily.

As with most cafés, lattés are a customer favourite, but barista McNally lays claim to the best London fog in town.

The Postino drink menu also comes with a fair selection of alcoholic beverages.

“One thing that makes Postino unique is that it’s a place where students can have a beer, wine or cocktail in the evening while they study,” said McNally.

“There are not a lot of places in the city where that is an option.”

Beyond even the relaxed atmosphere, the Postino staff see the coffee shop as a perfect place to form connections.

“I think it’s a great place for students to find networking opportunities,” said Mathe.

“Because of the atmosphere, conversations just start. It’s not uncommon for people to introduce themselves while they’re in line.”

In addition, the café recently began holding open-mic nights on a regular basis.

“When I came on-board, I wanted open-mic night to be a place for people to come in and let go,” said Mathe.

Held every other Monday, artists both veteran and new are welcome.

“The vision for the artist is that this would be training ground,” said Mathe. “If you’re the person who sings in the shower, this is your first stop.”

Mathe’s vision for the café is that it would be more than just a place for people to get their caffeine fix and she’s excited to continue to foster spaces in the community where people share ideas and talents.

“We love working with anyone with a skillset who is willing to share with the neighbourhood,” said Mathe.

“Postino’s a hub for talent. We’re always looking for people to connect with.”

Postino Café and Lounge is located at 2520 Capitol Hill Crescent N.W., and is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. The next open mic will be held on April 4, at 7 p.m.

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