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Roll into Action with BSE Skateboard Shop & Coffee Bar

Downtown Kingston is known for its charming streets, historic buildings, and a laid-back vibe that captures the essence of this beautiful city. Nestled within this community is BSE Skateboard Shop & Coffee Bar on Princess St, a gem that perfectly embodies downtown Kingston's eclectic spirit, and a place where skateboarding and coffee unite to build a vibrant hub. 

BSE Skateboard Shop t-shirt merchandise on left side and owner Jay Bridges on right side smiling.

Get Geared Up & Fuel Up for the Ride

If you're a skateboarder or enthusiast, you've hit the jackpot. BSE has an impressive selection of decks, wheels, trucks, bearings, and accessories to fulfill all your skateboarding needs, as well as apparel, and shoes. But it's not just a place to buy gear. It's a hub for the skateboarding community, a place where novices can learn the ropes and experts can share tricks and stories.

Skateboarding can be an energy-draining pursuit. That's where the coffee bar at BSE comes in. Crafting the perfect brew, they offer a variety of coffee options, from espresso shots to creamy lattes. Don't miss out on their specialty drinks – if you visit, you must try the popular "Lemon Drop," a unique concoction of lemonade and espresso. It perfectly complements the energetic and vibrant atmosphere of the shop. Pair your coffee with a locally made baked treat, and you've got yourself a complete meal.

Exterior of BSE Skateboard Shop & Coffee Bar in Downtown Kingston

Kickflip into the Past

Partners in both life and business, Jay Brides and Jenna Richmond have a unique story that's intertwined with the evolution of BSE Skateboard Shop. The tale began on Princess Street in Kingston, where Jenna used to work at Hip Kids, and BSE Skate shop was located at its previous spot. Fate brought them together, and they found themselves at the center of Kingston's skateboarding culture.

The year 2020 brought its fair share of challenges as many businesses faced closures and uncertainty. BSE Skateboard Shop, like many others, took a break. However, Jay and Jenna saw an opportunity amid adversity. They decided to make a bold move during the pandemic by relocating their shop. It was a serendipitous moment, as Jay’s previous lease ended just as a more spacious and inviting space next door became available.

Latte cup being filled on the left side and female store owner making drinks on right side.

Dropping into the Present

The new location is brighter, wider, and welcoming, reflecting the spirit of the skateboarding culture it champions. With a serving counter already built in, it was a win-win situation that allowed them to reinvent the store while keeping its roots intact.

Jay's deep connection to the skateboarding world and Jenna's retail and coffee expertise were a perfect match. Together with the support of the community around the skate shop, they reopened in their new and bigger location. And that's not all; they also have a hidden gem – an intimate private back courtyard that has now hosted several events such as Art After Dark. It's a place that captures the essence of Downtown Kingston while providing an escape from the bustling streets. But perhaps the most exciting addition is the coffee bar, making BSE Skateboard Shop & Coffee Bar more inclusive and welcoming to all ages.

Interior of BSE Skateboard Shop with rack of skateboards and wall of shoes plus merchandise.

A particularly neat aspect of this shop's story is Jay's deep passion for the skateboarding world. It was his love for the sport that inspired him to open his shop back in 1997. In those early days, the shop was more of a mobile affair, operating out of a van. Jay would roll up to skate parks and various locations, sharing his love for skateboarding. He eventually found a brick-and-mortar location in Belleville, but his journey didn't stop there.

Before settling down in Downtown Kingston in 2013, Jay made a name for himself in the skateboard world as a senior photographer for SBC Skateboard Magazine. His job took him to skateboarding hotspots around the globe with some of the top legends, capturing the essence of the sport and sharing it with the world.

Today, BSE Skateboard Shop & Coffee Bar is not just a place to buy skateboarding decks, gear, apparel, and shoes - it's a spot where people can come together, connect, and celebrate their shared passion. It's a testament to the power of resilience, creativity, and the spirit of skateboarding.

With a rich blend of skateboarding, caffeine, and community spirit, it's more than just a shop - it's a lifestyle. Roll on down to BSE and experience the thrill for yourself!

Fun Fact

Did you know that at BSE, they offer a unique and extensive selection of Nike shoes, making it a sneaker lover’s dream come true? Not only do they carry a wide range of Nike footwear, but they also offer a diverse array of merchandise and gear, ensuring that you can find everything you need to up your style and performance game in one place. Whether you're looking to ride in style or spice up your outfit, BSE has you covered!

Favourite Local Spots

When Jay and Jenna take a break from the hustle and bustle of their shop, they take the opportunity to stroll through the lively heart of downtown Kingston. Among their favourite spots is the Montreal Street Collective, a treasure trove of thrift clothing, vintage gems, and antique finds. But when the sun sets, it's Olivea that calls to them for the ultimate date night. 

Where: 225 Princess St, Kingston, Ontario 

Previously published on Downtown Kingston's The Downtown Dish blog.

Photo Credit: Jay Bridges

Rosalyn Gambhir
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New Foodie Brunch Spot: Lay Low Cafe in Downtown Kingston

 Nestled on the vibrant intersection of Princess St and Sydenham St in downtown Kingston, Lay Low Cafe has burst onto the Kingston foodie scene, promising a laid-back atmosphere, chic interiors, and a menu that'll leave your taste buds dancing. Opened in mid-November 2023 by Erica Braunstein, this brunch spot is destined to become a favourite for brunch enthusiasts of all ages.

Eggs benny on the left side and interior coffee counter at Lay Low Cafe.

Picture this: sleek mid-century modern vibes adorned with lush greens and rich browns. As you step inside, don't miss the dazzling disco ball that sets the tone for the groovy experience that awaits you. It's the kind of place where time seems to slow down, and every moment feels like a lazy Sunday morning.

Interior of Lay Low Cafe with sleek mid-century decor with lush green booth seating and rich brown tones.

Lay Low Cafe offers an array of beverages to kickstart your day, from lattes and cappuccinos to refreshing smoothies, freshly squeezed juices, and playful cocktails like mimosas and espresso martinis. Whether you're catching up with friends or treating yourself to a solo brunch date, Lay Low Cafe beckons to everyone, young and old alike.

Erica Braunstein, the brains behind this brunch haven, brings with her a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, spanning 14 years. With a family history rooted in running restaurants, Erica's journey led her to pursue her passion by attending school for hospitality and tourism. After graduating, she teamed up with her father to open a restaurant, honing her skills and gaining insights into the intricacies of the business.

Exterior of Lay Low Cafe on the left side and a cup of latte with heart design on the right side.

Lay Low Cafe is a manifestation of Erica's wanderlust, reflecting her travels and the diverse culinary experiences she encountered along the way. The name itself, 'Lay Low,' is Erica's personal mantra, embodying the essence of chilling out, casual vibes, and laid-back living, all of which you'll sense as soon as you step through the door. 

The interiors are a blend of modern simplicity with vibrant pops of colour, creating a welcoming environment where friends can relax and unwind. The casual breakfast and lunch spot offers upscale and fresh cuisine, with a variety of options for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences.

Speaking of the menu, don't miss Erica's top pick – The Nest. This dish features a potato nest cradling a perfectly poached egg, accompanied by porcini and cremini mushrooms and sautéed kale. Another standout is the Brekkie Board, a tantalizing combination of smashed avocado on sourdough with goat cheese, coconut yogurt granola with seasonal fruit, and the supreme house fries that are a must-try! 

breakkie board with bacon potatoes plus avocado toast on left side and waffles with fruit on right side.

Lush green booth seating at Lay Low Cafe on the left side and chorizo breakfast wrap on the right side.

Lay Low Cafe is open seven days a week, ensuring you can satisfy your brunch cravings any day from 7 am to 5 pm. And if you're on the lookout for the perfect venue for your next event or party, look no further – Lay Low Cafe has got you covered with its inviting ambiance after hours.

So, whether you're a Kingston local or just passing through, make sure to make Lay Low Cafe your next brunch destination. It's not just a meal; it's an experience, and it's waiting for you to come and lay low for a while.

Rosalyn Gambhir
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[name=Rosalyn Gambhir] [img=https://i.imgur.com/9rNiMGU.jpg] [description=Rosalyn Gambhir is the gal behind the blog The Staycationer. Whether it's exploring the local food scene with her foodie partner-in-crime or taking in the view from her favourite cafe, Rosalyn is always a tourist, looking for the next exciting adventure within Kingston, Ontario and beyond. The Staycationer allows you to rediscover hidden gems in your very own backyard.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/thestaycationer) (twitter=https://twitter.com/rosalyngambhir) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/rosalyngambhir/)

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