Thor Espresso Bar

Phaedrus Studio was tasked with designing a unique cafe experience for Thor Espresso located in the John Street Corridor of Toronto.

  • area / size 753 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Toronto, Canada,
  • For their 3rd and newest café, recently opened in the Queen West neighbourhood of Toronto, Thor owners and operators Tom Junek and Patrick Tu continued their fruitful and symbiotic relationship with emerging architecture firm Phaedrus Studio. Thor Espresso started in 2010 with their first and wildly successful location on Bathurst st and continued with the opening of Odin, their second café and first collaboration with Phaedrus in 2015, to public and critical acclaim.

    This time, Junek and Tu had to step up their game in order to stand out from a crowded coffee marketplace while reinforcing their brand awareness. Surfing on the success of Odin, they engaged Phaedrus again to design a different kind of café, in a very challenging context.

    The café was to be a decidedly contemporary space that would both act as a destination for design enthusiasts and stopover for the under-caffeinated local creative class, fitting for the John St. corridor, a small but mighty creative hub in the city’s core.

    Having already established a trusting and highly functional relationship, Thor gave Phaedrus’ David Grant-Rubash and Tyler Malone carte blanche to design unique location that could be celebrated the world over as a piece of creative design.

    Phaedrus’ highly collaborative ethos is what made this project a wild success, as they artfully managed the expectations and demands of the landlord, the co-working space as well as Thor, as they had to turn a space initially unsuited for a café into the design gem it is today. That meant going above and beyond their initial scope of work to facilitate the re-negotiation of leases and the modification of mechanical systems that were thoughtlessly laid out in the first place.

    Thor Espresso bar is the embodiment of what can happen when willing parties collaborate closely and use creativity and innovative solutions that ultimately benefit everyone involved, while reconciling and synchronizing seemingly contradictory requirements.

    Design: Phaedrus Studio
    Photography: Ryan Fung