A coffee revolution has been quietly brewing in Winnipeg over the past few months. Kicked off by Nils Vic, who opened Parlour Coffee on Main Street, the freshest entry is West Broadway’s own Thom Bargen.
Since opening in February, Thom Bargen has enjoyed a steady stream of customers craving their specialties, such as the Cortada, lattés and a perfectly brewed slow-drip coffee. Thom Bargen’s impeccably designed interior not only creates the perfect atmosphere, but hints at the new Sherbrook Street revitalization just outside its doors.
Owned and operated by Thom Jon Hiebert and Graham Bargen, the pair gave up swimming in corporate waters and poured their blood, sweat and tears into renovating the first floor of their Sherbrook Street location. The result is a warm, inviting space that Thom describes as “part of growing the culture of coffee in Winnipeg.”
Coffee itself is steeped in culture, having first percolated in the 13th century. Naturally, the ensuing centuries have brought countless variations on the drink. So when you get to the counter in Thom Bargen and see some unfamiliar options on the menu don’t worry, Thom or Graham will make sure you get a drink you’re happy with.
My Bargen favourite is a cappuccino with a side of chocolate. The shop is always serving up a different flavour from the Mast Brothers, a single-origin chocolate maker from Brooklyn that sells chocolate by the piece. If you ask me there aren’t many things that beat coffee and chocolate.
Nestled in the back of the café is Wilder Dry Goods, a manufacturing space and showroom for hand-crafted bags, belts and beautiful picnic blanket totes. Be sure to peek back there when you’re in as the designs are as elegant as they are creative.
The Wilder craftsmen, who are high school friends of the café owners, are a surprisingly perfect complement. Two creative ventures sharing space is something I believe we’ll see more of as young companies search for affordable, high-traffic venues.
This is the new Winnipeg. We are enjoying optimism, pride and renewal that hasn’t been felt in a long time. If you look hard enough, you might find it at the bottom of your Cortada cup.
Thom Bargen is located at 64 Sherbrook Street and is open seven days a week.
A special thanks to Leif Norman for the amazing photos.