By: Andrew Mrozowski

In the heart of Barton village, a newly-opened bar brings the community a different experience. Named after a fruity type of hops used in some beers, Mosaic is giving Hamiltonians a new place to socialize and drink locally brewed craft beer.

Co-owned by 12 friends, it was their goal from the start to create a space that feels like a second living room.

“We wanted somewhere that is more comfortable and welcoming where people can come and socialize,” said Tyler Roach, co-owner of Mosaic.

Living in Hamilton for nine years, Roach developed an appreciation for the city’s local bars; however, he and his work colleagues found themselves getting bored.

“There is a severe lack of craft beer bars in the city because everyone keeps opening restaurants. We had an opportunity to do something that we wanted so we gave it a try,” said Roach.

The owners originally looked at other locations before deciding on Barton Street, seeing it as an opportunity to be part of an up and coming neighbourhood.

“The original plan wasn’t to be a part of the new Barton, but so much has happened with the transition from retirees to young families. The community response has been so positive and people are happy that there is a safe space they can go to and hangout with their friends,” said Roach.

Mosaic boasts fourteen tap lines with a heavy focus on local Ontario craft beers, many of them directly sourced from breweries across Hamilton and surrounding areas. Since Mosaic has opened, they have had a good relationship with local brewery Grain & Grit, who brewed the bar a special opening weekend beer using mosaic hops. They also feature beers from Fairweather Brewing Company, Great Lakes Beer Collective Arts as well as others.

“It’s a mix of trying to choose interesting beers and staple styles so there is an option for every beer drinker. There is an option for you that will be familiar enough, but we also have different and interesting beers that maybe aren’t coming to Hamilton yet,” said Roach.

The bar not only has a wide variety of craft beers, but also serves wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages. To compliment, Mosaic offers up a snack menu featuring charcuterie boards, as well as vegan and gluten-free options. The 12 owners have ensured that there is an experience for every taste palate at Mosaic.

On the first Friday of each month, Barton businesses host Barton First Fridays in which each business has something unique happening. During this time, Mosaic showcases local Hamiltonian artists in the form of a mini gallery.

“Each of [the owners] has a different element that we each bring to the bar,” said Roach. “One of us really loves art and knows a lot of artists so we are bringing them in and showcasing their work. We are always trying to evolve and bring something new to Barton.”

To the 12 owners, Mosaic represents more than the name of their bar or the hops used in some of their favourite craft beer. The hops have a wide-ranging flavour profile comparable to the different ideas that each owner brings to the table, and even more so to the wide array of diversity that Hamilton has to offer.

From the warm inviting home-style décor to its twenty-foot long bar, Mosaic has tapped into a unique space on Barton Street East.

“Barton is a part of the city that is a fundamental place for people to come and experience,” said Roach.

Some students have a hard time being away from home. Tucked away in the heart of Barton village, the space provides a new experience but still feels familiar. Bringing Hamilton all the comforts of home, Mosaic is a great place to relax with a craft beer and enjoy the company of friends.

Photos from Sam Mills.

By: Andrew Mrozowski

I come from a small town outside of the greater Toronto area where I couldn’t be open about who I truly am.  There were no spaces that were created by people like me, no rainbow flags, no queer party nights – nothing. When I decided to move to Hamilton for school, I knew that with coming to a large city, I would be exposed to a different aspect of the LGBTQ2S+ community and be amongst people with whom I could be my true self.

Fast forward to two years later, I have found spaces in Hamilton where I could be myself and thrive in my own self-discovery, social life and the committed relationship I’m in.  I have realized that although Hamilton might not have a designated “gay village”, there are spots that have made me feel welcomed.

At first glance, these spaces may appear “ordinary”, but through my interactions and experiences I’ve found that these spaces greet you with a sense of community, set the scene for fond memories and ultimately aid personal growth. I want to share these spaces with people who might feel like they are out of their element in this city. I know it has helped me a lot during this past year and hopefully it will help you find what you are looking for.


I’d Like to Buy A Vowel - HAMBRGR (49 King William Street and 207 Ottawa Street North):

A popular locally-sourced restaurant in Hamilton, HAMBRGR boasts a wide-selection of burgers and craft beers in an industrialized atmosphere. This was not my first time at HAMBRGR, and although my date and I had to wait thirty minutes to be seated, we knew the food was well worth it. Our waiter was really friendly, giving us his enthusiastic recommendations on the extensive menu. Through his charismatic attitude, he made us feel very welcome and even tried his best to charm us.

This experience is one of my first and favourite memories with my boyfriend. I felt like the space allowed me to be my true self without having to worry about how others would perceive me and my sexuality. There was no shade thrown my way that night. If I’m not comfortable in my own skin, then I can’t enjoy my time because my mind is so preoccupied worrying about everything and everyone around me. I can confidently say that I enjoyed my night at HAMBRGR because I was able to leave all the worry behind. In this queer-friendly space, I was able to focus on what was most important to me; starting a new relationship.


Building Something New - Crumbled (339 Barton Street East):

Through writing for the Silhouette, I’ve been able to meet a lot of interesting people in Hamilton and I’ve made quite a few friends. I recently befriended Dom Pugliese, who is the the owner of Crumbled. At Crumbled, Pugliese creates deconstructed cake in a cup with unconventional flavours such as lemon meringue, cookie dough and snickers. I have found myself going to Crumbled at least once every two weeks and spending at least an hour talking to Dom and indulging on his decadent cake.

When I first approached Crumbled, I had no idea that it would be queer-friendly. When I went inside and starting talking to Pugliese, he filled the space with inclusivity. Pugliese and I have lost track of time talking about everything from his business, to our personal lives and swapping little anecdotes. At Crumbled and with Pugliese, I was able to destress by getting lost in our conversations and forgetting the responsibilities that constantly dominate my life for a little while.

Pugliese and other owners in the heart of Barton Village are working towards making Hamilton a more queer-friendly city and inclusive for all. Through Crumbled, Pugliese is making an effort to add to the city’s overall queerness, and he has realized that you do not need to open up a designated space to still be welcoming to all. I always look forward to my visits to the Barton Village because I know that I have a good friend there waiting to chat over a unique bowl of cake.


My Daily Grind - Emerald Coffee Co. (340 Barton Street East) & Redchurch Cafe and Gallery (68 King Street East):

As a student and part-time barista, I will be the first to say that I am addicted to caffeine. I am constantly on the hunt for great lattes in environments that are both aesthetically pleasing and welcoming. During this last year, I have found myself constantly going to two cafes that fit my criteria.

Redchurch Cafe not only serves coffee but also baked goods, food and alcohol. I was first introduced to this space on the night of Halloween, when the space was transformed to host live music and cocktails. I attended the party with my boyfriend and felt that I didn’t need to hide the fact that we were dating because everyone, from the staff to other attendees, had such a care-free and welcoming attitude. I was able enjoy the party without stressing about our safety. These warm and inviting feelings carried over to when I would go to the cafe during the day to study.

Typically flying a pride flag outside, I would probably say that Emerald Coffee Co. is the only definitive queer coffee shop in the city, most likely thanks to the owner, Phil Green. Much like the other business owners on Barton Street East, Green is dedicated to ensuring that the queer community has a place to feel welcomed and supported. He feels that Barton Village will most likely be Hamilton’s next gay village. Emerald Coffee Co. is the perfect place to get some work done in a welcoming environment with great all-natural lattes, drip coffee, and cold-brew on tap. I love coming here because I really enjoy the quality you can get and I’m all for supporting queer business owners.


“We’re Here, We’re Queer, You’re Welcome” – Adam and Steve:

This party planning duo is ensuring that Hamilton’s queer community always has a safe and fun space to party the night away. Adam George and Steve Hilliard have thrown massive queer parties to reunite a community that has been disconnected in recent years. They’ve also hosted former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants and local drag queens. Adam and Steve’s parties are one of the closest thing the queer community can get to a designated queer space in Hamilton. Since meeting the duo, they have shown me that Hamilton’s gay culture does exist. I used to think that the only way I could express myself and find acceptable is by going to Toronto’s gay village, but thanks to people like Adam and Steve, queer-culture is being normalized again in Hamilton. Thank you Adam and Steve for giving me a space where I can be truly myself, unapologetically.


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Photos by Kyle West

By: Andrew Mrozowski

Tucked away on Barton Street East are a ton of local Hamilton shops with a lot to offer. On Barton Street East and Emerald Street North, a coffee shop is quickly approaching its one-year anniversary. Aptly named Emerald Coffee Co, the space creates a larger than life quality that has been ten years in the making.

Owner Phil Green grew up in Montreal. For the past ten years, Green worked in the automotive industry and lived in the United States, but he yearned for change. Leaving his job with thoughts of opening a coffee shop at the back of his head, Green made the choice to move back to Canada and live in Hamilton.

“I was walking my dog and saw that this place had a lot of potential. The neighbourhood was filled with young families, but they had to walk 15 minutes to get a coffee…A coffees hop is the hub of a neighbourhood and I wanted to create that hub here,” said Green.

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In the summer of 2017, Green embarked out into Hamilton to try and find a place. Setting up home base on Barton Street East, the owner knew that he was taking a chance with this spot.

“I took a risk and opened in a location where most people wouldn’t have but once the idea was in my head, I wanted Barton Street. We wouldn’t have been the same if we opened somewhere else,” said Green.

The doors to Emerald Coffee Co. were officially set to open in February 2018 but had to be delayed as the building was not up to code. Green eventually opened a month later on March 31, 2018 and received an unanticipated warm welcome.

“It’s been great! The neighbourhood has been amazing, I’ve met amazing people, and the coffee scene in Hamilton is friendly. It doesn’t feel like competition here, it feels like we are all friends. There is a real sense of community,” said Green.

Emerald Coffee Co. is a unique coffee shop as everything they use is natural. Green makes his own vanilla syrup using vanilla beans, a rose syrup from dried rose petals, and goes to the United States to get hazelnut milk.

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With a wide range of espresso-based beverages such as lattes, and americanos, Green also has kombucha and cold-brew on tap all year around. Emerald Coffee Co. also gets in a different roasts of coffee every two weeks to keep things fresh. A fan-favourite of Emerald is their hazelnut latte made with real hazelnut milk instead of using traditional hazelnut syrup.

“We try to make everything as genuine as possible,” said Green.

About once a month, Green also develops a special seasonal drink. Bringing back a fan-favourite, the rose latte will be featured for the shop’s one-year anniversary along with one-dollar coffee throughout the last weekend of March.

Aside from coffee drinks, the shop also has sandwiches and salads for customers to enjoy as well as sweets from local Hamilton bakeries such as Donut Monster.

Currently, Green is trying to develop a way to bring a nightlife crowd to Barton Street East.

“It’s a really gay-friendly neighbourhood with a lot of the owners being queer, and we are welcoming to everyone. Hopefully in the near future, I’ll have some coffee cocktails to serve in the evening because we really need a nighttime crowd in the neighbourhood,” explained Green.

Isolated from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core, Emerald Coffee Co. is a great place to study or enjoy a great beverage with friends in a warm and inviting atmosphere amongst a community that is working together to show more of what Barton Street East has to offer.


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Photos C/O Razan Samara

By: Andrew Mrozowski

Tucked away on Barton Street East is an unexpected pop of colour that catches the eye when passing by the old grey brick buildings. Immediately when you walk through the door you are greeted by the smell of succulent cake. On your left is a vibrant mural created by Hamilton-artist Trinity Bolduc, capturing the very essence of Crumbled. Owner Dom Pugliese is likely to be mad at work trying to fill walk-in and online orders, but he is always willing to stop and chat.

Gaining experience working on the corporate side of baking in Toronto, Pugliese found himself yearning for a change of pace. Pugliese decided to leave Toronto and move to Hamilton with the hopes of creating something new for himself.

“I wanted to open a bakery for like eight years, but only thought of a traditional bakery — breads and breakfast things, or just dessert. I had a vision of even doing a café with all the cakes made in-store and do coffee,” said Pugliese.

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While working at Cake and Loaf Bakery, Pugliese started to learn about how Hamilton operates and meet with locals. On the side, he would make cakes for family and friends at home. He then would put all the scraps into a bowl and toss them in the fridge only to consistently come home to find his boyfriend eating the crumbled bits. Suddenly, an idea sparked in Pugliese’s mind. This was the inspiration for Crumbled.

In June 2018, Pugliese actively searched for the perfect location. He knew he wanted a bakery on Barton Street East.

“Everyone is doing their own thing [on Barton Street East] and it’s unique. To open now, when it’s starting, but not there yet, to be a part of that is huge,” said Pugliese.

Crumbled Bakery serves gourmet deconstructed cake in a cup. Starting with their core menu, Pugliese has developed a different take on classic flavours with the “I Dream of Vanilla Bean”, “Chocolate Chaos” and “Red, White and Velvet” cake bowls.

Each month, a small number of specialty seasonal offerings get added to the menu. For March, customers are able to get lemon meringue cake, a vegan Snickers cake and a cream egg brownie cake. If you want a little more diversity, Crumbled also offers a make your own bowl where you can choose two cake bases, frosting and any toppings. The bakery also offers full-sized cakes made to order.

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“We’re doing something different that nobody has done,” said Pugliese. “It’s cool because it’s like a sundae bar but with cake. You can choose your own toppings, you can make it your own and it’s great for customers who want variety.”

Currently, Pugliese is the only worker at Crumbled and does all the baking and assembly himself. He uses fresh ingredients and makes his cake creations from scratch every day.

“That’s where the corporate side helped me. I’ve learned how to use both my hands at the same time. It can be hard with planning and production but that’s where Cake and Loaf refined me. Now, I’m able to bake while the day goes on, the frostings don’t take long to make. You have a recipe for a simple buttercream and you can add different flavours to it. It’s like repurposing,” explained Pugliese.

“I want people to know what real baking is. We use real ingredients and it’s all made from scratch every day. That’s what’s great about Hamilton. That’s everywhere. Everybody is doing things from scratch and doing things differently. You’re getting something unique wherever you’re going,” Pugliese added.

Crumbled bakery is the first of its kind and momentum only seems to be growing more and more. With a great atmosphere, delicious cake and a great host, Crumbled is part of a community working to add something special and sweet to Barton Street East.  


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