A Bee-View of the Drive – Joe’s Cafe

by admin - May 10th, 2012.
Filed under: Commercial Drive Restaurant Reviews, Other Topics. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , .

When we moved to Commercial Drive area to open our little Vancouver B&B approximately seven years ago, we were intrigued by the sign in the window of Joe’s Cafe that claimed to offer the “Best Cappuccino in Town”.   However, that was so long ago that when it came time to review this little cafe this week, we couldn’t quite remember what our impression had been all those years ago. The fact that we never went back might have been a clue, but still it was fun to stop in again today.  One of the great things about the Drive is the intriguing cultural mix and the “neighborhood” feel, and Joe’s definitely has an exotic neighborhood flavour, brought by the groups of guys who congregate outside and in to chat or watch sports (soccer/football in particular) on the wide screen t.v.  The pool tables in the back were no doubt a popular draw at one time, but they are also indicative of the style of the place, as is the stuffed bull’s head on the wall! It really feels like an old world, smoky pool hall but without the smoke since Vancouver is a smoking free city (at least inside buildings).  Besides the cappuccino and other coffee drinks,  and a variety of beer and wine, Joe’s does have a small menu of beef bifana (I understand this is a Portuguese pork cutlet, but did not try it), sandwiches (around $6.50 – $7.00), lasagna, pastries still in the box from whatever store they come from, etc.

So, then, the question to be answered is…..is their cappuccino REALLY the best in town, as the sign on their window claims?  I would have to say maybe not the best, but it’s actually pretty good and they do an impressive job of big foam with delicious melted sugar/chocolate sprinkle on top (not sure how they did that – perhaps a torch?).   Note: cappuccini in photo are doubles.

Now, the really interesting part for me was when I checked out the reviewers to see what they say about Joe’s – and it was definitely a surprise. Although Yelpers & DineHere reviewers gave it a generous average of 3 stars, UrbanSpoons gave it 4 1/2 stars, with 88% of the reviewers liking it! And I loved reading the story of Joe’s on their own website.  It seems this little neighborhood hang out has been hanging out on the Drive since 1974!  It’s part of the local culture, and we love the flavor that places like this give the Drive!  To quote their quote from “thedrive.ca”:

“Counterculture meets old-world charm on the east side. In the early 80s, when artists, musicians, and the local left began to filter onto The Drive – Joe’s, with its battleship linoleum, chipped Formica tables, laundromat lighting, and black-velvet bullfighting scenes, became the hot place to hang out and argue politics into the wee hours.” –thedrive.ca