You know what the best part about winter is? Cozying up with a good cup of coffee or a drink that runs down smoothly and warms up your insides, while you reminisce and engage in coy banter and light-hearted conversation among family, friends, and strangers. Luckily, Manitoba knows how to warm up your spirits this season. With an abundance of lounges, cafes, and teahouses you’ll run out of time before you visit all of them. That’s why I’m narrowing down the top ten places to lounge this winter.
Across the Board Café
93 Albert St, Winnipeg
Grab your closest friends, wind down after work, or even take your date to Across the Board on a chilly evening for some great food and entertainment. With over 800 board games to choose from, chances are you’ll be staying at this cafe for quite a while, so take your coat off, get comfy, meet strangers, and challenge them to some old-fashioned fun. For only a tiny fee of $5 per person, you and your clan can play any game for as long as you want.
You’re probably going to get hungry after all that game-playing and you’re in luck because their food menu is incredible! Choose from hearty sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, healthy salads, and even international dishes like chickpea curry, Vietnamese salad rolls and my personal favourite, their massive charcuterie board (mmm). Wash your meal down with a beverage like Hail Caesar or a warm cup o’ coffee like a cappuccino.
Want to take a game home with you? No problem! Check out their extended gaming shop where you can purchase any game you and the crew played. Who knows, it might make a great Christmas present too!
2001 Henderson Hwy, Winnipeg
This cozy nook was built only a few years ago in the ‘Peg, but the atmosphere would tell you different. With rustic and woodsy decor, you feel like you’ve stepped into a log cabin, and just beyond the window is a lake full of ice and frosted evergreen trees lining the land. The staff is super friendly and the menu is as tasty and festive as ever.
At Mountain Bean, you can get the typical: coffees, chai tea lattes, London fogs, and espressos. They also have their own custom-made Mountain Bean coffee to sample, like Big Horn, Log Cabin, and Campfire. If you like these flavours enough, you can purchase a bag or two to take home. Their frozen drinks are to die for and have equally fitting names. You’ll have a hard time choosing between their Icy Mountain Blenders, Snow Caps, and Oreo Avalanche.
Need some dessert with that coffee? You’ve come to the right place! Choose between the decadent Oreo cheesecake, triple chocolate cake, apple or berry crisp, or Tiramisu. Once you’ve received your orders take a seat on their cozy leather couches near the fireplace, close your eyes, sip your coffee, bite into your dessert, and escape.
The Jasmine Tea Room
If you find yourself driving to Altona or just passing it, you’ll want to make a stop at the lovely Jasmine Tea Room. Situated in this small town of 4,000, The Jasmine Tea Room has marked its presence with eight years of providing delicious meals, desserts, and loose-leaf teas. Everything about this tea room is feminine and pretty, with white tablecloths, tea sets as the table’s main centre piece, and wooden furniture, all made to feel like a warm and inviting atmosphere.
Owner, Susi Braun, originally from Indonesia, buys teas from all over the world like Estate Tea from India, Jasmine Flower Green tea from Japan, and Cherry Rose Green Tea from China, just to name a few. Each cup of tea served to customers is unique and different from other teacups on display. Pair up your tea with mouth-watering cakes like Mini Kit-Kat Cheesecake, Carrot Coffee Cake, and Pecan Brownie with ice-cream, or with fresh salads, savory soups, and hearty sandwiches. We couldn’t think of a better way to warm up this winter!
Altona is located just off Highway 30, about an hour south of Winnipeg.
Ginger Wood Lane Tea Room
A main attraction in Winkler is the Ginger Wood Lane Tea Room known for their delicious food, and tea, of course! This tea room is a historical site and set in an old antique vintage house. The original building used to be a wood-working shop, but when the men outgrew it, their wives decided to renovate it and turn it into a tea room: a place of gathering for the towns’ people. Even now, it continues to be a modern-day gathering place where people can warm up by the fireplace while snacking on delicious home cooked meals and sipping on tea that just warms the soul.
They also have a charming boutique within the tea room as soon as you enter the building. Browse through their wide selection of accessories, teas, tea gadgets, tea sets, decorations, ornaments, and outdoor supplies, all fitting to make for a unique and beautiful Christmas present.
Winkler is located off Highway 32, about an hour south of Winnipeg.
McLeod House Tea Room
This tea room located in Stonewall has so much rich history attached to it. Residing in a Victorian-styled house from the late 1800s that looks ever-so-seasonal and straight out of a children’s book is the McLeod House Tea Room. Alan McLeod, son of Dr. Alexander McLeod and, author, Margaret Arnett McLeod, was the youngest soldier in World War l to receive The Victoria Cross, the British Commonwealth’s highest and most prestigious awards. In honour of the family that built this establishment, his portrait hangs in the foyer of the tea house.
Not only can you learn about the history tied to this building, but you can also enjoy yourself as you gather with friends (or strangers) for teas like Angel’s Dream, Holiday Winter Spice, Bourbon Street Vanilla, and Raspberry Paris. They also have a variety of menu items to choose from like soups, salads, and sandwiches; all homemade within the kitchen (even the bread is homemade!).
After tea in their main dining area (which looks like you’ve stepped in Downton Abbey), venture up the old wooden stairs to the second floor boutique with four separate rooms dedicated to cooking and baking utensils, tea and tea sets, decor, and accessories and clothing.
Fools & Horses
379 Broadway, Winnipeg
Nestled on one of Winnipeg’s oldest streets, Fools & Horses combines urban coolness with trending organic wholesomeness. Their decor is simple and modest and the coffee one of a kind. They offer a full espresso menu to keep you up after long hours at work, and Pilot Coffee to warm you up on those chilly nights. This coffee hut turns into more of a relaxed lounge in the afternoon when they begin serving wines and craft beers. Their food menu includes so many tasty options to choose from: Nordic-style cinnamon buns, savoury chocolate croissants, gluten-free Morning Glory muffins, seasonal sandwich menus, and charcuterie boards.
Once you’re nestled into the relaxing atmosphere, stay a while and enjoy weekly events put on in the joint, like Carols and Candles, where candles from Coal and Canary light up the room while choir singers celebrate the holiday season singing traditional carols. They even have plays that are put on once a month to entertain visitors while they sip and dine on the deliciousness that could only come from Fools & Horses.
61 Sherbrook St, Winnipeg
Located in the neighborhood of West Broadway, this bar/restaurant oozes coolness. This extra tiny setting forces strangers to get cozy with one another and socialize like they used to in the olden days (scary, right?). The Handsome Daughter hosts live music from the likes of local indie bands and DJs, stand-up comedians, gallery and art shows, Karaoke, poetry slams, and trivia. There is so much going on here, you’ll want to come back each night so you don’t miss out!
If you haven’t been to Handsome Daughter, what are you waiting for? Not only is the atmosphere and entertainment superb, they’re food and drinks are pretty rad too. Dine on their take of mac-n-cheese, pulled pork tacos, wings, and nachos to share! Sip on eccentric-sounding drinks like the Corpse Reviver #2, The Heavy Hart, and Texas Tea H.C. Drafts are also available on tap. They mean serious business here at Handsome Daughter, not only when it comes to serving fantastic food, but also for providing a great environment for people to relax and get to know one another.
725 Osborne St, Winnipeg
Chances are, you’ll walk right by this bar and not even know it. The secretiveness and seclusion of Blind Tiger makes it all the more exclusive, and everyone wants to be a part of it. The reason behind its seclusion is to embody a modern day ‘speakeasy or ‘blind tiger’ as it was once referred to back in the 20s. There are no signs, no noise, and no roamers as to not draw attention to itself.
Escape the cold winter weather and cozy up in this far away lounge that will take you back to the golden years. By day, the establishment is a quaint cafe, with passionate baristas doing what they do best: making you the greatest cup of coffee you’ve ever sipped on. By night, the place gets a little darker and the atmosphere a little more coy. Dine from their sophisticated menu featuring Fromage En Croute, Escargots, Coquille Malfatti, and Poulet a La Dubrovnok. See, I told you, it’s pretty sophisticated. Come cold, and come hungry, because this place will warm you up right down to your core.
164 Stafford St, Winnipeg
This English-styled pub is perfectly and seamlessly situated in the neighborhood of Crescentwood, where similar looking shops and other restaurants reside. The owner, Miles Gould, established The Grove back in 2010, after his return from Britain. He modelled The Grove after friendly neighborhood pubs where he dined and socialized back in ye’ old England. The decor is subtle, yet traditional; the service is quick, yet friendly; and the food is high quality, yet, set at a reasonable price.
Staying traditional to English culinary roots, The Grove serves breaded fish bites, lamb meatballs, sarnies (sandwiches), the Dorchester and Stafford burger, fish and chips, Sheppard’s pie, and wood-fired pizzas. Wash food down with a variety of ciders, beers, and wines to choose from, or finish off with sweet-tasting melt in your mouth desserts like Maple Whiskey Pudding, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Crème Brulee. Come in and warm yourself up over a tasty meal, and smooth beverages in a traditional, friendly, neighborhood atmosphere.
Whether you can make it to one, or to all, these locations will be sure to make for a perfectly cozy lounging session this winter.