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Sam James Coffee Bar opens on Ossington

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There’s another new coffee joint on Ossington. Sam James Coffee Bar opened today at 1000 Queen St, the same building as Stussy.  The entrance to Sam James is on the Ossington side of the building, taking over an underused space. The entrance isn’t well marked, so keep your eyes open for the small sign on the door.

This is the fourth location for Sam James, having started on Harbord, and expanding his operation to two other locations, one in the financial district and the other near Christie subway station. Sam and his coffee are also very well known in the local restaurant community as a suppliers.

The new location is small, lacking tables or seats – thus focusing on the quick coffee to go – but there are a set of steps to sit and sip a coffee and talk with friends and locals. A small selection of baked good and beans for home brewing are also on offer, but the focus is on the tight menu of coffee basics – lattes, americanos, espressos etc.

Here’s a few photos from today’s opening:

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Vintage Crawl Hits Ossington, Dundas and Queen West April 17

vcto_colorlogos1Vintage Crawl Toronto is back for the Spring 2014 crawl this Thursday night and, since our part of town is a treasure trove of vintage shops, this is the place to be!

The Toronto Vintage crawl happens twice a year, Fall and Spring, and features special deals and mini-parties with drinks and snacks at most of the included stores. Stores will also stay open later than usual: extended hours are til 12 midnight.

Ossington shops taking part are: Silver Falls, Tusk, Emporium by I Miss You Vintage, and Rescue Vintage. Dundas shops near Ossington include: Bridge + Bardot, Penny Arcade, and Armed.  Shops on Queen West near Ossington are: BYOB, Chosen, and 69 Vintage 

There are other neighborhoods with lots of retailers, if you want to branch out: Kensington Market and Parkdale, and further east on Queen West, but don’t forget to come back to Ossington Village!

Mystery Solved – 1164 Dundas West will be Ossington Station

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 11.31.49 AMAfter our post about the contradictory information we were reading about the next incarnation of 1164 Dundas West, William Tavaras of Fishbar cleared things up - he is opening Ossington Station. The interior of the former Arrow Cafe is being transformed into a late-night eatery. After The Arrow Cafe obtained their liquor license, the lease was transferred over and the rebuild of the location began.

The plan is to open on May 1st.  They’ve already set up a countdown clock on their website and are actively posting on Twitter and Facebook. The menu will focus on small comfort food items and the intention is to stay open until 4am to catch the post-bar crowd who are inevitably hungry as another option to The Lakeview. They posted this menu about 12 days ago as a sample of what’s to come:

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Now Open: The Well

IMG_20140410_203321There’s a new bar/cafe on Ossington. The Well is now open at 121 Ossington. Formerly the take-out spot More than Pasta, the space has been transformed, with comfy seating, a long bar, and a friendly and relaxed vibe.

We stopped in last night for one drink, stayed for more, and chatted with the guys behind The Well: AJ, John and Dave.

The Well will be open every night but Monday. They have an espresso machine, a full bar, and a nice variety of delicious baked goods (yes, we tried some!). Beer lovers will be happy with the variety of craft beers on tap, including Mill Street and Muskoka. There are some board games on hand for your amusement, or you can just chat with everybody like we did last night. You can follow them on their site or on Facebook for upcoming events.

When you’re there, check out the cool recycled wood wall, the colorful artwork, and the vegan hand soaps and lotions in the washrooms. Here’s some pictures from our visit last night:

The bar from the back looking forward:

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 Baked Goods!

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Board Games:

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A small DJ Booth: IMG_20140410_203421

The drink menu posted by blackboard:IMG_20140410_202316

 

The Mystery of 1164 Dundas West (Formerly the Arrow)

Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 4.13.42 PMIf you enjoyed the ice cream and coffee at The Arrow Cafe at 1164 Dundas, you’ll be disappointed. It’s now papered up with a sign on the window saying they are rebranding. The question is: in to what?

About a month ago the cafe obtained a liquor license after putting an application on their window for the required month. When we visited during this period, they said that they were doing this so they could offer some craft beers and wine in the evenings, and not much would be changing.

About 2 weeks ago we noticed they had a sign advertising that they were serving beer.

During that time a twitter account and a Facebook page appeared for a restaurant called Ossington Station, suggesting a licensed late night eatery at the same address as The Arrow. At least that lined up: maybe they decided to rebrand once the liquor license came through. Ossington Station has been posting lots of teasers – and continues to: only today this menu, including comfort foods and good looking appetizers and salads, was posted to Twitter.

Then, things got interesting, and we began to wonder what was going on: on March 21st, The Arrow’s Twitter account posted:

The link in the tweet leads to a gluten-free bakery called Almond Butterfly Gluten Free Bake Shop. We tried sending messages to The Arrow, and haven’t heard any response.

The bakery’s Twitter account, also very active, has numerous references to a new opening in Toronto soon.

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So who has control over the lease at 1164 Dundas? Will it be a late night comfort food menu, or gluten free muffins? Or is this some elaborate April Fool’s joke? We’ll find out soon.

Let us know if you have any more information.

 

The Ossington Prix Fix Lunch Guide – Libretto and Bazara

Ossington is well known as a evening dining location, but there are a few restaurants that have great lunch deals – worth the trip over from your office downtown, and especially worth it if you are close by. Two of our local restaurants have offered Prix Fixe lunches for only $15 – a great deal!

First off we start with Pizza Libretto  – at $15 you get a salad, either beet caprese or arugula, one of the basic pizzas (which are my favourite anyway) and dessert of either biscotti or gelato. That covers the important dishes at Libretto, and will get you wanting to come back for a full dinner.

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Just across the street, pan-Asian restaurant Bazara offers a lot of choices on their $15 Prix fixe lunch menu, starting off with soup or salad and then a selection of rolls, dumplings, and traditional Chinese dishes with rice. A good hearty meal for a good price.

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If you’re around during the day on Ossington, don’t forget to try these out. They taste good and won’t break your budget.

Catch Toronto SketchFest On Ossington This March

to sketch festThe Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is back this March and major events are happening on Ossington. The festival runs March 6th-16th, and one of the main venues is the Lower Ossington Theatre.

This year’s festival will get a lot of attention for The Kids in The Hall reunion at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, but the bulk of the festival is local up-and-coming talented sketch troupes. And that is what you will see on Ossington.

Lower Ossington Theatre hosts two shows nightly, at 8P and 10P, and most shows feature at least two comedy troupes. With award-winning, local comedy acts like National Theatre of the World and She Said What, and ticket prices at $15 per show or 4 shows for $50, you are guaranteed some good laughs for the money. Other Sketchfest venues include Comedy Bar, the Randolph Theatre and Queen Elizabeth Theare

Where to Watch Sunday’s Gold Medal Men’s Hockey Game

team-canada-hockeyWant to cheer on Team Canada in public tomorrow? While some of us may barely get out of bed to catch the gold medal game, thanks to Councillor Mike Layton, bars will be open early and serving drinks. So, the question is, which local bars will be open for you to watch the game with other fans?

Opera Bob’s, at 1112 Dundas West, frequently opens early for Man City football games, so they have no problem opening this Sunday in time for the 7am puck drop. This friendly bar has several small TVs behind the bar, and they’ll pull out the big screen for events like this.

New sports bar The Dock Ellis will open their doors at 1280 Dundas Street West at 6am, so you can get your prime seat and a pint of Ontario craft brew, and be all set for the first period.

Know any other local spots showing the game? Share with us in the comments or via twitter.

Go Canada!

Now Open: Victoire Boutique

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There’s a new place to shop on Ossington. As of just a couple of hours ago, while you were watching hockey, the women behind Ottawa based Victoire Boutique opened their doors at 129 Ossington, just south of Crafted by Te Aro.

We have not been able to visit yet, but from the photos, it looks like the transformation from art gallery to lovely retail shop selling a lot of Canadian designers is complete. We stopped in on Friday night, met Christine and Amber, and took some photos:

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The Best Days to Dine on Ossington

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 8.45.31 PMOssington is a popular area to eat out – on weekends, reservations are hard to come by, and the waits can be long. Early in the week, however, most of the spots have room for everyone, AND many of the restaurants have great specials – especially if you like oysters and other seafood. Check out these deals and soon you’ll be spending the early part of the week out for dinner too.

Sundays:                                                                                                                                                                  

  • The Saint Tavern at 227 Ossington serves their “Sunday Supper” a $29 3-course meal with a soup or salad, Sunday roast, and the daily pie. They’ve also got Buck-A-Shuck oysters Sunday-Tuesday nights
  • Rock Lobster at 110 Ossington offers a Lobster supper on Sunday with a boiled lobster and fries for $25
  • Delux has $1 Oyster Sundays at their 92 Ossington spot

Mondays:

  • Union Restaurant, at 72 Ossington, offers 1/2 price bottles of wine with dinner on Monday nights
  • The Saint Tavern’s Buck-A-Shuck oysters continues 4p- close
  • Yours Truly at 229 Ossington has just introduced a $35 5-course menu and 1/2 price bottles of wine

Tuesdays:

  • Boehmer at 93 Ossington seems busy on a Tuesday. Why is that? Because they’ve got multiple specials on Tuesday nights: $22 Full Lobsters, Buck-A-Shuck oysters, and 1/2 price bottles of wine
  • It’s Taco Tuesday at Salt Wine Bar at 225 Ossington and The Garrison at 1197 Dundas West
  • Last day of the week for The Saint Tavern’s Buck-A-Shuck oysters 4p- close

Wednesdays:

  • Fishbar calls today Whatever Wednesday and allows BYOW with a $2 corkage fee, and then donates that money to Oceanwise

 

Also, Pizzeria Libretto at 221 Ossington does a weekday lunchtime prix fixe – 3 courses, salad, pizza and dessert for $15. Bazara Sushi at 188 Ossington also has a weekday 3 course prix fixe lunch for $15.

The Lakeview has daily drink specials: every day, a different beer is $4 a pint, Caesar’s are $4, and Mimosas $3. Fishbar also has a Happy Hour Friday – Sunday from 3:30-5PM with $5 wine, $4 beers, and oysters for cheap!  Opera Bob’s at 1112 Dundas West has a Sundowner Special with $5 pints and $4 rail drinks from 5-8PM weekdays. 

Know of any other specials? Post them in the comments, or tweet us!

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