I cannot count how many times I have passed Commune Cafe at 1002 Seymour Street, and I kept on walking. Nothing seemed to grab me. From the outside, it looked like a typical glassy and glossy Yaletown cafe. But with my new “Friday Destination lunches,” the Commune came onto the radar. It’s a quick walk from the office and a cafeteria style with a range of sandwiches (read quick and easy to have me back at the office on time) and has a wine and beer list. It met the criteria, so off I ventured.
Sign at Commune
First glance and I loved the sign to the entrance; I believe it. It was a good reminder and a prelude for the concept of joining strangers around the long communal table that seats 16.
But for those dining alone, fear not. As you order your sandwich and are forced to wait, perhaps fidget with your solo-ness, recheck the emails you’ve already read on your iPhone or challenge the angry birds, take a closer look at your order tag.
Conversation Starters at Commune
You may just be able to break the ice and start some simple chit chat with the strangers beside you. I liked the fact that the concept of community was woven into the small order cards; trying to foster simple communication and connect people.
Overall it does resemble a Scandinavian-style showroom with white walls (a black and white mural on one), a natural wood table and floors and then the bursts of red–communist red to boot. But what appealed to me was the shape of the back of the chairs–the top bar slightly curved upwards with multiple downward rods.) The chairs were tucked into the table and I couldn’t help but see the resemblance of eight little torii (traditional Japanese gates marking the entrance to a sacred shrine) lined up.
Commun-ist red chairs
Another natural element that I fell in love with was the cork pendant lamps (all three of them) which were spaced out evenly to hang over the table. Interestingly, they are shaped like beehives – another subconscious communal touch, perhaps?
Cork pendant lamp - Commune Cafe
Cork pendant lamp - close up
Three words: simple, fresh, sound. The menu isn’t overly complicated, nor are the sandwiches but Commune does claim that their ingredients are free-range, organic and locally sourced. There are soups, salads and shares, but with it being Friday, I was more inclined for a side of Canadian craft beer. For $15 I got a great Portobello Arugula Goat cheese sandwich, a small side of fresh greens and a bottle of Apricot Wheat Ale.
Portobello Arugula Goat cheese sandwich - Commune Cafe
I am glad I went back. It was a great communal Friday lunch that reshaped my perception of the sometimes stale and void-of-character(s) Yaletown locales. And not only did I kick my ass for not coming sooner, I found out what the last concert my colleagues went to and who sleeps in the nude (conversation starter 26, I believe.)