Montreal's New Espresso Bar Will Make You Think You've Time Travelled To Italy In The '90s

If you're Italian or you've travelled to Italy, you know that coffee isn't just coffee. It's a break from your day. Andreas Vecchio and his cousin Diego Iovino (Clockroom Bar) took on the mission of bringing that vibe to Montreal when they created Caffettiera Caffé Bar, a stand-up espresso bar that recently opened in Golden Square Mile. 

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"You're at the office, you run down to the bar and order a coffee and take that 45 seconds standing up at the bar where you're just to yourself," Vecchio said.

"Maybe you dunk a pastry into a cappuccino. It's really a moment of solitude."

Post-COVID, Vecchio said he envisions 10 people standing along the counter and in different corners, and 15 people seated at the bar's eight tables.

He said this is more in-line with what you'd find in Italy compared to many other cafe-bars in the city.

"There's great Italian espresso in Montreal but the places kind of look like Martin Scorsese movies," Vecchio told MTL Blog.

"They're more Italian-American inspired . . . There's nowhere in Italy that looks like that. They look more like New York or Brooklyn. They look like the Mile End."

Aside from the design — by Ménard Dworkind — there are several other authentic Italian touches Vecchio leveraged to bring his concept to life.

First of all, it's a "bar," which is where you'll commonly find coffee in Italy rather than strictly cafes.

"The bar is the place where you meet up. If you don't know what to do yourself, you go to the bar to see if one of your friends is there," he said.

"It's kind of like a rendez-vous spot." 

Secondly, it's named after the caffettiera, or moka pot, invented in Italy in 1933. 

"For Italians, that's our first love for coffee," Vecchio said. "When you go to someone's house they put on a caffettiera."

Finally, it's '90s themed because in Vecchio's eyes that was the time when "Italy was perfect."

He elaborated: Everyone had money in their pockets because it was pre-euro. Fashion brands like Versace and Moschino were at their peaks. And Italy's soccer league was unmatched.

There's a nod to latter in the form of framed posters that hang from the walls: Gabriel Batistuta, Marco van Basten and Roberto Baggio — famous Italian footballers from the '90s.

In terms of food and drink, there are Italian sweets and pastries from Arte & Farina and Pâtisserie Alati as well as ready to eat cold-cut sandwiches, and an aperitivo or "spritz menu."

But coffee is obviously the main event. 

"It's a step back from the third wave . . . so we just rewound a bit," said Vecchio.

He explained third-wave coffee is all about using technology to get the best out of each bean without blending.

The Italian way — a little more old-school — is about blending many beans to formulate your ideal recipe to use consistently year-round, he said.

Vecchio said Caffettiera's coffee is roasted and blended by his friend Flavio at Caffè Fantini in Ardea, Rome.

He said Caffettiera is focused on the five M’s: miscela (the blend), macinatura (the grind), macchina (the machine), manutenzione (maintenance) and mano (the barista’s hand).

Don't get too bogged down in the Italian, though. The only phrase you really need to know is, "prendiamo un caffè" or "Let's have a coffee!"

Caffettiera Caffé Bar

Address: 2055, rue Stanley, Montreal, QC 

Why You Need To Go: Feel like you're in Italy while sipping on delicious coffee