Revolver Coffee is a small, bustling coffee shop in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood–you can’t miss the bright white name spelled out in a handsome bold serif typeface against the sleek black storefront. Owned and operated by the coffee-loving Giannakos family, this multiroaster café opened in 2011, and has become known for stocking an impressive rotating selection of coffees from various North American roasters. These range from Heart Roasters in Portland to Parlor Coffee in New York to Vancouver’s own Matchstick Coffee Roasters, just a few streets away in Chinatown. Soon to be added to the mix are Oslo’s Tim Wendelboe and London’s Square Mile Coffee Roasters–exciting news for Vancouverites, as these international roasters have until now been more or less inaccessible on the west coast.
Filter coffee at Revolver is prepared via Chemex by default, but just about every other brew method is available upon request. The “brew flights” are a highlight on the menu, featuring either three different coffees prepared in the same brew method, or a single coffee prepared in three different brew methods.
The space itself is quite sleek and beautiful. The interior was designed by Craig Stanghetta of Ste. Marie Art + Design, complimented by clean branding work from local design studio Post Projects. A minimal world map mural made of thousands of meticulously placed steel nails spans one wall, while brick walls and warm wood counter and tables nicely balance out the space’s cool grey tones, exposed steel piping, and industrial accents.
There are just five booth tables and a handful of chairs by the front window, and they tend to fill up quickly, but guests can always head next door to the Archive, a quiet, spacious adjoining room with plenty of seating around long communal tables as well as coffee brewing equipment, notebooks, and other goods available for purchase. Think of this space as Revolver’s annex, with a focus on brewing well at home. Away from the bustle and busy-ness of the café, the staff at the Archive is available to help customers pick out their first burr grinder or chat with them at length about brew methods and recipes.
English degreeholders, bookworms, and other literary types will notice and appreciate co-owner George Giannakos’ love for old books, evident in various corners throughout the space: a copy of War and Peace sits on the merchandise shelf alongside bags of coffee, while books by Kafka, Steinbeck, and the Brontë sisters share a home on a shelf on the back wall. Old vintage books with only the best covers are tied together and sold as subtly themed bundles, perfect as gifts for a literary friend or for getting lost in over afternoon coffee at the Archive.
Coffee, books, a lovely space, but most of all Revolver is a launching pad for the kind of delicious coffee you should be enjoying daily. You’d be hard pressed to find a better assortment of home brewing gear in a cafe setting, including a full line of products from Hario, Baratza, Chemex, and must-haves like the Aerobie AeroPress and the Porlex hand grinder. Between what they’re selling up front on the bean wall and what’s available for take-home brewing in the Archive, this place is a one-stop shop. What could be better?
A delicious, beautiful one stop shop, naturally.
Joanna Han is a contributing editor at Kinfolk Magazine, and a Sprudge contributor based in Portland, Oregon. Read more Joanna Han on Sprudge.
Top photo by Alex Bernson.