Toronto Temperance Society
Photography by Christa Treadwell
Words by Andrew Toplack on 04-Aug-2015
577A College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6B 1G2, Canada
Tel: +1 416 536 7001
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 6pm-2am
Door: Members & guests
Recommended for: Cocktails, Food
Price guide: Middling
Food: Full menu
Beside Sidecar restaurant on College Street, a brown, unmarked door, electronically opened with a membership card, is the only outward sign of this relaxed, reasonably-priced, members-only club (if you're from out of town or are thinking of joining the club, contact bar manager Oliver Stern via the website and you may be allowed in). Once inside, a narrow, dark staircase leads directly up to the bar itself. Dark wood and dimmed lighting set the tone for this small speakeasy, with ten seats at the bar and two sitting areas, one with high-tops and the other with banquets. Opaqued windows complete the secretive atmosphere and effectively sever the bar from the world, giving it a timeless mid-evening feel. Down the fire escape, a new outdoor patio area helps make the most of the warm summer months.
The bar is manned by two of the best bartenders in the city, Robin Kaufman and Oliver Stern, and, while the bar menu is full of classics, they specialize in on-the-spot dealer's choice cocktails, made from the very well-stocked (for Ontario) backbar. This is the place in Toronto to order a Tom Gin Cocktail or a Brooklyn.
Food is brought up from Sidecar restaurant below, and is well-executed comfort food: hangar steak, duck confit, grilled half-chicken.