Lion & Bright is the best of both beverage worlds: A café with delicious coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, and a wine bar with beer, wine, bar snacks, and great dishes with local ingredients.
And attached to a local market at that!
It’s genius really, and very easy to spend a full day at this place. I’ve done it. Several times now in fact.
Located on trendy Agricola Street wedged between Agricola Street Brasserie and Local Source Market, this coffee-shop-wine-bar is the newest hot spot in the North End for coffee, food, wine, you name it; it’s got a bit of everything. I have been to this place a dozen times now and the only day that it wasn’t busy was probably the first day it opened in mid-January. Since then, this place is always buzzing with people.
The space is light, bright and full of natural wood and industrial lighting. Chalkboard menus list daily specials, classic cocktails, and coffee any way you want it. There is communal seating, tables made of big slabs of wood for cozy couples, and two large tables designated for work purposes set up with multiple sockets for all your electronic needs. This place exudes cool.
Cleverly named after the term to describe a team of oxen, this place juxtaposes two eateries (café & wine bar) and melds them into one unique spot. The café side is BRIGHT: there are lots of delicious coffee drinks with beans supplied by North Mountain Coffee of Berwick, NS.
The Red Velvet Espresso is delicious and their Cappuccino is quickly becoming one of my favourites in the city. The Pain-au-chocolat is filled with luscious dark chocolate, and they have lots of other delicious goodies to sooth your sweet tooth.
The daytime menu features savoury soups, sandwiches, hot pies, and salads. With the Local Source through an open doorway (both are owned by Sean Gallagher) and daily lunch specials like Fish Tacos, a Pint, and a Cookie for $12, how can you go wrong?
One day for lunch I sampled the Grilled Cheese: it was smothered in cheese, mushrooms, and pear butter, which I’ve never heard of before but man was it ever tasty. Served with a delicious homemade ketchup, this sandwich is a winner.
The wine bar is LION: At 5pm sharp the place fills up with the hip afterwork crowd looking for libations, delicious food, and great company. The bar has a great selection: L&B Old Fashioneds and other classic cocktails, Bulwark Cider on tap, and a large list of craft beer both on tap and by the bottle. There is also an extensive wine list from Nova Scotia and all over the world, not to mention a great Scotch list.
Lion & Bright has an array of bar snacks including cheese, charcuterie, Sweet Potato Chips, even Beef Jerky! There are a number of small plates with choices like Roasted Golden Beet Carpaccio or Baked Raspberry Point Oysters. I was also surprised to see a small selection of full meals on the menu for the evening, including a Duck Confit with Cardamom Plum Jam.
This place has pretty much become my new office, and whether you are in the mood for a cappucino and pain-au-chocolate or an Old Fashioned and homemade beef-jerky, this is the place to go. The atmosphere is awesome day or night, and it’s easy to spend a lot of time here drinking coffee, drinking cocktails, reading or chatting. It’s got a great vibe, and a great play list to match.
You can Lion & Brighten my day anytime.