We aren’t mourning the loss of Our House, as new owners have taken over the location and are currently fixing it up and are in the process of a slow, soft opening as they get their restaurant and menu together.
La Porte, at 214 Ossington, is a large space which the new proprietors, Mike and Daryl, have spent the last two weeks sprucing up for your drinking, and eventually, dining pleasure.
Decorated with vintage doors. La Porte has three big rooms. The bar is up front, a middle room is still being converted, and the kitchen is in the back. It’s a comfortable space with funky lighting and a warm vibe.
The owners are pleased to be in the neighborhood, and are already feeling the friendly vibe from other businesses and residents alike. They are taking requests from locals as far as what beer they should have on tap to what music the DJ should play, so stop in and have your say. They even had a poll to choose their logo.
The soft opening began last weekend, and continues this Friday night. The bar will be open and they will have a very small snack menu. During the early stages, they may even do some collaborations with local restaurants. The kitchen and restaurant require more work. so plans are to renovate after the holidays with a more extensive food offering in the new year. Mike is also planning to set up a stage area for local music acts to play, and some future co-op events with his friends from Rock Lobster.
We took some photos, but they want neighbors to come by on Friday night – stop in, say hello to the nice new owners, and enjoy Ossington’s latest new hotspot!
The bar area. Beers will be mostly local micr0-brews including Steamwhistle and Beau’s, but if you like Canadian, they have that too.
A Dollarama has taken over 1220 Dundas Street West, formerly home to furniture and appliance store Galego’s. We checked out the large space, which covers the main floor and basement.
For those of you who have felt the void since the Dollar Joint closed, this replacement should fill it. As it is December, the new retailer is stocked full of Christmas related merchandise. Need decorations, gift wrap, or even a cheap and cheerful Secret Santa present? This could be the place! Of course, as with all Dollaramas, you’ll also find electronics, candy and more!
The long empty Shaw Street school has finally been converted into a home for artists, musicians, and arts related groups, keeping art in our neighborhood for years to come.
Last night, the community got a chance to see and enjoy the new Artscape Youngplace at the Official Public Opening party. The event was an open house, with exhibits from some of the residents, speeches from the organizers, musical performances from Maylee Todd and more.
Artscape is a well-known art community supporter throughout Toronto, and, for those wondering why Youngplace is on Shaw Street and not Yonge Street, it’s named after the family who are the chief benefactors of this hub, the Michael Young Family Foundation.
Youngplace is called a community hub, and from the looks of it, that’s what it is and will be. With a coffee pub, art galleries, music schools and more, this is a space our community will cherish for years to come. At a time when old schools are being converted into townhomes, and art galleries are moving further west, Artscape Youngplace is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Check out our video below, and see you there!
Alysha Brilla is a talented musician and someone who doesn’t play in the standard new music venues around the city regularly so it’s a treat to have her do a show in our neighbourhood. She hails from Kitchener area and has released her third album called In My Head. It’s full of catchy tunes that tell very personal stories about love, loss and dealing with the challenges in her life. She’s a talented guitar player as well as singer and can capture an audience with her on-stage charm.
Catch a sample of her catchy music in this video for single Sailors Wife from the new album:
Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party: Saturday November 23rd 2013, 10pm, at The Dakota Tavern
Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party are a local band who have grown their indie style music playing regularly in Toronto venues. They are a member of a local collective called Fedora Upside Down and you may have caught them at the Ossington Village Alleyway party last month. They have a roots rock style and Freeman’s voice might remind you of Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and Leonard Cohen. All attendees to the show will receive a free download/copy of the single “Wickedness” including the B-side “Apophenia”
Here’s the title track from their new CD called Old Town.
A few years ago this neighbourhood was very short of traditional sports bars. There were a few bars where one could catch some Portuguese soccer matches, but until Opera Bobs showed up, we had to venture up to The Brass Taps at College and Dovercourt. This week The Dock Ellis gave us a bigger option – and they’ve clearly got a sense of humor – the place is named after a major league pitcher who pitched a no-hitter while high on acid.
Located at 1280 Dundas Street W, just west of Dovercourt, the bar serves assorted Ontario craft brews from Amsterdam, Beau’s and Stonehammer, and they are cooking up fun bar snacks in the kitchen – last night, fried chicken nachos were on the menu.
In addition to a wealth of seating and lots of TVs to catch the Sunday game, Dock Ellis has a pool table, shuffleboard and foosball, as well as a tip of the hat to Get Well Bar with an old-school video game.
We chatted with Callum, one of the owners last night, and it’s not just baseball and football on the tube at The Dock Ellis. Callum and his friends are members of the Axe Throwing League, so that will often be a topic of discussion, you may even see an axe from time to time.
So stop in, grab a pint, play or watch a game. Dundas West is getting cooler!
Rob Ford is a popular topic of late night news shows and Korean cartoon video makers. Do you want a memento of these crazy days, or a gift for a non-local friend? Crywolf Clothing, at 91 Ossington, has the “You Crack Me Up” line of merchandise, and they are getting attention for it both near and far. When we stopped in this afternoon, a Japanese broadcaster was interviewing designer Chris Aslandis about his popular line of buttons, magnets and t-shirts.
Wednesday night, Salt Wine Bar had a special prix-fixe dinner to celebrate three years in business. It could have been longer, but Salt was a restaurant that was caught on the wrong side of former city councillor Joe Pantalone’s misguided restaurant moratorium. The owners had signed their lease but they had not submitted their liquor license application by the time the surprise council decision was made so they were put on hold for months as the political process rolled on.
Their opening ordeal long behind them, they celebrated with fine Portuguese wines and signature dishes, all of which are available on their current Fall menu. Dinner included 3 courses and dessert, all with many wine pairings which enhanced all of the delicious food. We were particularly impressed with the Alaskan king crab salad, the seared pork belly and the sticky toffee pudding, which was served with a beautiful port.
They are also known for their fine cocktails created by bartender Nick Kennedy. Last Saturday we stopped by for the signature charred cedar Manhattan and we Instagramed the creation here. It’s much more fun if Nick makes it for you, but BlogTO published the recipe in a post here.
If you haven’t stopped by in a while, head over and wish them a Happy 3rd Birthday.
Sunday afternoon is about to hop at Bellwoods Brewery (and by hop, we don’t mean the beer kind of hop) as A Little Rambunctious, a smaller version of the horn-based improv band led by Michael Louis Johnson, takes the patio stage there from 2-5 pm for the next few weeks.
Michael Louis Johnson, if you don’t know him already, bartends and hosts the Saturday afternoon Gyspy Jazz sessions from 4-7 at the Communist’s Daughter, where he plays a mix of originals and classic swing-jazz pieces, all while tending bar and making clients happy.
Michael also founded Rambunctious, which has played regularly at The Painted Lady and The Port (which is now Get Well Bar). The idea behind Rambunctious, and its offshoot A Little Rambunctious, is all improv. Audience members call out song titles and the band makes up a song based on one of the titles. The smaller version of the band puts a little more focus on swing, jazz and jump-blues sounds in their song formation. While the larger version of the band has up to 15 players, the smaller band has only 4, with Michael on trumpet, local favourite Eva Moon on drums, Ian Tulloch on sousaphone, and Christopher Weatherstone on sax.
Details: A Little Rambunctious, Bellwoods Brewery, Sunday, 2-5PM
Lost and Found has now opened on Ossington in the space formerly occupied by Lennox Contemporary and C1 Art Space. The clothing store and espresso bar had been finding their space on Dundas both cramped for both display and storage space for their inventory and short of foot traffic so they decided to take a space on Ossington when it came available. The new location feels more open and airy and goes a lot further back than Lennox Contemporary, the prior occupant, had opened up.
On Sunday when we visited the store was packed with visitors ordering coffee and checking out the new space. In it’s new location Lost and Found will tap into many more folks walking down Ossington taking in the fashion circuit including such as Tiger of Sweden, I Miss You Vintage, Rescue Vintage, Jonathan + Olivia, and the recently opened Annie Aime – their new next door neighbour.
Their selection of clothes includes stylish jeans, jackets, hats and accessories including a great selection of shoes including some interesting Vans and other choices.
They also make a mean latte and Americano to provide more choice in coffee from our regular spots such as I Deal and Crafted, and hopefully draw the Queen St crowd to head a bit north and avoid the Starbucks on the corner (nothing against Starbucks, of course) to more independent shops like theirs.
Local cafe and clothing store Lost and Found is moving from Dundas Street West to 44 Ossington, previously the home of Lennox Contemporary. Given the increased retail vitality of the street, and the high level of product in the shop, this is a good fit for both!
Lost and Found is at 1255 Dundas Street West, between Ossington and Dovercourt, and is open there through the weekend. They plan to move on Tuesday, and all goes well, they’ll be enjoying the larger space and increased foot traffic on Ossington by next weekend.