170 James Street North, Hamilton
visited Tuesday November 10, 2015

What would you get if Brooklyn and Italy made a love child in the Hammer??? – The new Saint James Espresso Bar and Eatery of course!!!!!! Besides that silly sign in the window, I LOOOOVEEEE everything about this place.  Read about my experience there, or just swoon over the pics.


Cinnamon Toast Crunch bar $3.25


Birthday Cake Scone $3

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If you’re not drooling from these pics then something’s wrong with you, cuz these are totally drool worthy.  These sweet treats were super fun, tasty and innovative.  The Cinnamon Toast Crunch bar $3.25 was a gooey and crunchy delight, and I loved that it was a super thick bar.  This actually inspired me to go home and make my own version with Reese’s Puff cereal…because eating a dessert disguised as breakfast is always acceptable, right?  The Birthday Cake Scone $3 was just as yummy…but with icing and sprinkles there is no way you can pass this off as breakfast…sorry to burst your bubble.  I liked dunking pieces of the scone into my cortado.


Cortado, Mocha $4.50

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The caffeine at Saint James is spot on, as it should be at a bonafide espresso bar.  My Cortado (espresso with a touch of warm milk…it’s the Spanish version of a macchiato really) was smooth, a touch sweet and just lovely.  The cortado wasn’t up on the menu board, but when I asked for it, the barista was totally willing and able to make me one without hesitation. James had the Mocha $4.50 and besides being super pretty it had a rich cocoa flavour and wasn’t too sweet.  Sip, slurp, dunk, munch….that’s what we did this dreary morning at Saint James.


The equipment here is top notch.  These funky glass chambers make it look like a chemistry lab in there, but this is actually where the coffee is made.  The barista explained the process to me and it seemed really fancy shmancy, but the just of it is, the coffee brews in one chamber and then is vacuumed into the lower chamber.  The vacuum pressure creates a really smooth coffee and eliminates any bitter notes.  I’m more of an espresso girl, but I can imagine a cup o’ joe here is exceptional.

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The raw edge table, subway tiles, white brick wall, black furniture and open kitchen had my heart skipping a beat.  You can’t get an espresso bar any classier and sexier than this in the Hammer.  I actually stumbled into Saint James the week before they opened and the owner/chef let me walk through while they were putting the final touches on it. He mentioned (sorry I forget your name, but you were so sweet to us on both our visits) that they plan to have several tables in there eventually, but that he didn’t want it too crowded.  So currently they just have the one communal table, but its the most beautiful table!  With a menu hand written on a roll of craft paper, you can be sure that the food will change seasonally, if not daily…and I like that.  I’m itching to get back to try some more stuff like a breakfast sandwich, bowl of pasta or pork belly on ciabatta.

Oh and service here was outstanding.  There were about 5 guys working (super cool looking dudes too), and they were all smiles, chatted with us and genuinely looked like they enjoyed what they were doing.  I don’t know if an all male staff is on purpose or not, but it’s totally European… and I like that too!

4.5 Sexy n cool

There can never be too many trendy cafes in the city, but Saint James has raised the bar, and channeled a little JT…they’ve totally brought sexy back.

  • Food 4.5
  • Value 3.5
  • Service 5
  • Decor/Ambiance 5

This is an excerpt from the article When in Hamilton: Saint James which originally appeared on