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Friday, January 31, 2020

15 new bars in Toronto to help get you through winter

New bars in Toronto are exactly what you need to get through winter. Cure even the worst case of cabin fever by breaking from routine and heading to one of these spots for a change of scenery instead of hitting up the same old pub on the corner. And hey, a liquid blanket always helps walking home in the cold.

Here are some new bars in Toronto to help you get through winter. 

Bar Biltmore

The Paradise theatre in Bloorcourt is not what it once was, and its recent sophisticated reinvention includes this splashy new cocktail bar serving spritzes, negronis and sours.

Gatsby's Speakeasy

Toronto's "first dueling piano bar" has opened near King and Bathurst, and it sounds like there's no way a night here could be ho-hum.

Happy Coffee and Wine

Coffee to keep you awake and wine to keep you, well, happy are the secret formula to beating the winter blahs at this Parkdale hangout. 

Imanishi Basement Bar

Comfort yourself with same and Japanese food at this space on Carlton from the people behind Imanishi.

standard bar toronto

Standard Bar in Parkdale is hidden behind a pizza joint. Photo by Fareen Karim.

Sous Sol

Sip cocktails in sultry confines at this St. James Town bar with lush decor that's located in a basement so you can forget it's a mix of drizzle and hail outside. 

Standard Bar

Speakeasy vibes distract from the cold at this Parkdale bar inventively hidden in a pizza place. 

Bar Poet

Miss hitting the patio? Head to Queen and Dovercourt to drink wine and eat pizza under fake trees, twinkly lights and an awning to feel like you're outside. 

Bar Volo

Sometimes lots of pasta and beer are the only things that can get you through the coldest month, so head to the reopened version of this bar near Yonge and Wellesley for both.

hotel delilah toronto

Hotel Delilah in Leslieville comes with tropical vibes. Photo by Fareen Karim.

Hotel Delilah

Tell everyone you went on a tropical staycation at this Leslieville "hotel" that doubles as an Airbnb, where vegetarian snacks are served alongside drinks. 

The Alpine

Hearty portions of European food will warm you up at this cozy beer bar in the Junction. 

The Little Jerry

Music is a definite mood booster, so if you find yourself feeling down this season head to this wine bar in Little Italy where a vinyl soundtrack goes way beyond blaring Top 40.

Miss Pippa's

Surround yourself with plants at this Dundas West bar and flower shop where you can cuddle up on a couch with a glass of wine. 

houndstooth bar toronto

You might get treated to live music at Houndstooth bar in Little Italy. Photo by Hector Vasquez.


Change out of those pyjamas for an evening and take in some live music at this cutting edge Little Italy venue. 

Mom's Basement

Movie nights are the perfect way to spend long hours of darkness, but it can get boring staying in, so catch a retro flick at this Danforth bar serving craft beer and popcorn. 

Bar Piquette

Ever-changing wines and small plates ensure this new Grant van Gameren project on West Queen West is always exciting. 

by Amy Carlberg via blogTO

This new Toronto art gallery lets you sleep inside overnight

Two years after closing for renovations, a Toronto gallery has reopened with an exciting new concept: sleepovers with art. 

Darren Gallery, the space formerly called the Gallery on Wade, has just launched a new program called Sleep With Art. 

For $200, you can stay overnight in this recently renovated gallery, located just a few steps from Landsdowne subway station. 

Totally subverting the idea that enjoying art has to be done standing (with good posture) and a wine glass in hand, you can marinade on some art while lying supine in your PJs, and in the comfort of two single Murphy beds, which fold out from the gallery walls. 

darren gallery toronto

Darren Gallery lets up to two visitors sleep overnight. Photo via Airbnb.

"If one walks by a commercial art gallery, chances are it's always stark and devoid of people, except the director sitting by their desk on the computer," says Darren Gallery founder Apollonia Vanova.

"If one musters up the courage to actually walk in, the feeling is usually cold with the salesperson most likely ignoring you or seeming annoyed at having you walk in." 

Vanova says allowing people to spend the night allows people to take their time with art, breaking down barriers of what might usually seem like a lofty, upscale experience. 

"This is to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere where one can, on their own time, connect and gain a better understanding of the work by spending sufficient time with it," says Darren Gallery's founder Apollonia Vanova.

One upcoming exhibit, The Hunting Project by Kurt Stallaert (part of CONTACT's photography festival), involves what appears to be a photograph, but is actually a slow-motion video that lasts 24 hours. 

"With works like that, you can’t really get into a gallery and experience the work if you don’t have time to spend with it." 

darren gallery toronto

The gallery comes equipped with a kitchenette and shower. Photo via Airbnb.

Equipped with a shower, towels, kitchenettte, and couch, the gallery will be open to a maximum of two overnight visitors from 5 p.m. to 11 a.m. via a lock box, or virtual keys. 

The space will feature write-ups on the pieces, some books, and any other inspirational materials that will give insight into the artist's creative process. 

The only rule is that you don't touch the art, or leave any drinks and food near the work. 

Installation artists will receive part of the overnight fee, which is good news for creators who work in a medium that sells much less frequently than paintings and sculptures. 

Upcoming exhibits include Cozy Venom from Lumir Hladik, which runs from February 5 to May 3. The Hunting Project runs from May 13 to August 13. 

by Tanya Mok via blogTO

One of Toronto's favourite Mexican restaurants just opened a location at the airport

Torteria San Cosme has just landed in Pearson Airport, meaning Mexican tortas are officially a pre-flight option.

The Kensington Market corner spot selling tender cubanas and milenasas officially has a stall in the airport's Terminal 1.

It might not be as colourful and fun as its first location at Baldwin and Kensington, which opened more than five years ago, but we can assume their telera bread will be just as fresh as the original. 

Their airport menu looks like it includes a Torta De La Granja, which is basically a Mexican breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, and bacon. Nothing sounds better right now than a flight out of Toronto (to somewhere warm obviously) with one of those in hand. 

by Tanya Mok via blogTO

The top 5 warehouse sales in Toronto this February

The top warehouse sales in Toronto for February 2020 mean big savings on OVO gear, luxury faux fur and home furnishings. Kitchen Stuff Plus is slashing prices on brand-name gadgets of all kinds and there's a big sale on comfy coats just in time for winter.

Events you might want to check out:

OVO Toronto Warehouse Sale (February 5-9 @ The International Centre)
Huge savings on branded OVO gear is on with a big selection of apparel, footwear and accessories for up to 80 per cent off.
South Hill Home Warehouse Sale (February 6-8 @ South Hill Home)
You can spruce up your place on the cheap at this warehouse sale with 50 per cent off on furniture, lighting, accessories and rugs.
Kitchen Stuff Plus (February 14-17 @ Kitchen Stuff Plus Warehouse)
Huge savings are on at this sale with brand name kitchenware from Cuisinart, Kitchen Aid, Umbra, Oster and Thermos for up to 90 per cent off.
Winter Parka Sale (February 15-18 @ Le Parc)
Over 10,000 winter parkas are for sale for up to 70 per cent off from Mackage, Rudsak, Parajumpers, Vegan Jackets, Nobis, Fred Perry and more.
Furious Fur Sample Sale (February 19-23 @ Furious Fur)
Coats, jackets, vests and accessories are on sale for up to 80 per cent off with a special selection of luxury faux fur items.

by Lisa Power via blogTO

5 things to do in Toronto today

It's a sweet Saturday in Toronto with things to do today give you the chance to indulge at the Winter Chocolate Show. Elsewhere, Black History Month celebrations are getting underway and there's sexy arts and crafts, craft beer and lots of tea to be had.

Events you might want to check out:

Winter Chocolate Show (February 1 @ Enoch Turner Schoolhouse)
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and this show lets you pick up a treat for you or someone in your life with bean-to-bar chocolate for sale.
Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Fest (February 1 @ Roundhouse Park)
Drink and play at this annual winter beer festival with 40 craft brewers on tap alongside games, food, music dancing, campfires and lots more.
Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair (February 1 @ Gladstone Hotel)
Things are getting hot at this arts and crafts market that features one-of-a-kind erotic finds in celebration of DIY sex and romantic culture.
Toronto Tea Festival (February 1-2 @ Toronto Reference Library)
It's warm, snuggly tea season and this festival includes two days of tea-focused programming like talks, workshops, shopping and sampling.
KUUMBA (February 1-29 @ Harboufront Centre)
A photo exhibition curated by Colin Kaepernick, ice skating party, workshops, talks, performances and more are all part of this Black History Month festival.

by Lisa Power via blogTO

People in Toronto say they prefer streetcars over buses

The 505 Dundas streetcar has been replaced with buses since the end of September while Pantograph upgrades are made between Parliament and McCaul, and it's making TTC riders realize how much they prefer streetcars to buses. 

One Toronto resident tweeted this sentiment yesterday evening, and it's led to a whole lot of online discussion comparing the two forms of public transit. 

"Anybody who advocates for buses over streetcars should be damned to ride the Dundas bus replacement for a week," Twitter user Shawn Micallef wrote online. "Or eternity, for such bad opinion."

The tweet has garnered 41 retweets and 464 likes in the past 24 hours, and many Toronto transit users say they wholeheartedly agree with Micallef. 

"The lurching, in and out of traffic. The dizzying pull into a stop. The sudden gasp that comes with quick brakes," one user wrote. "Aw gawd, my blood pressure rises just thinking about it."

Toronto resident Asif Hossain quote tweeted the original post and added his own take, stating that the replacement buses on Queen a few years back taught everyone involved to appreciate streetcars. 

And one Twitter user even responded that anyone who prefers buses probably isn't actually a frequent transit user. 

For those who are specifically frustrated with the Dundas replacement buses, you'll be glad to know that streetcar service will resume on the route come March 29

by Mira Miller via blogTO

Toronto bar named after famous author is closing after 7 years

Hitch, a Leslieville bar that has billed itself as "your cozy little local" is sadly closing its doors next month after seven years in business.

The establishment was inspired by and named for the famed English-American author, journalist and anti-theist Christopher Hitchens, who died in 2011.

It quickly became beloved for its strong cocktails, delicious snacks, sunny back patio, hipster decor, chill ambiance and events like live DJ performances, movie showings and trivia nights.

"The time we’ve spent travelling this path has been nothing short of incredible and the friends we’ve made along the way are the kind you keep for a lifetime," a goodbye post on the bar's social media accounts reads.

"We built and named this bar 'Hitch' with the spirit of the interminably caustic Christopher Hitchens in mind, but any further reverent intentions quickly became unnecessary as the bar instead filled with the people who made it what it really was."

Proprietors go on to thank the local community and all of Hitch's staff and regulars in the post, reminiscing about table singing and dancing performances, resident plants and more.

Others have been sharing their best memories of the bar and offering their well wishes on its Instagram.

"The place is magical. A cozy nerd cave with no attitude," fellow bar and eatery Completo wrote. "Purveyor of amazing graphic art posters, fun themed nights, a place for romance, a place for laughter. It is my favourite bar in leslieville. It is an integral part of any self respecting queen east pub crawl."

Hitch's last day at 1216 Queen St. East wil be on February 15.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

Markham restaurant says they've lost customers because of coronavirus fears

A Markham restaurant that shares the name of the Chinese city where the novel Coronavirus outbreak began in December has been experiencing dwindling business, prank calls, racist attacks and more as fears surrounding the illness heighten.

Wuhan Noodle 1950 in Markham was the unfortunate subject of a mocking post on 6ixbuzz, which showed a photo of a sign from a now-shuttered Finch Avenue location with the text "@ 'W' Must Order Lunch Here" over top.

wuhan noodle 1950Many in the comments section of the post continued to poke fun at the restaurant, saying things like"ur finna catch sum corona wit dat noodle soup" and "I'll get da one orda of the bat soup and da orange chicken." (For the record, 2019-nCoV is not caused by the consumption of bat soup and Wuhan Noodle does not serve the dish.)

Others quickly pointed out how inappropriate the post is — especially for an account that thinks itself a news outlet of sorts and has 1.4 million followers.

"Stop sharing these lowkey racist and alarmist posts, are y'all gonna stop eating california rolls because someone got the virus in california? that's how dumb this sounds," one user said. Other comments included "Stop promoting racist thinking" and "Nah this is sad someone's losing their business over this."

Wuhan Noodle's owner told the Toronto Star that his business has lost two-thirds of its customers amid the panic the virus is causing.

He also said that the 6ixbuzz post isn't the only one that has targeted the restaurant brand in particular — a since-deleted video showed a resident approaching the restaurant with the caption "the Wuhan virus has spread to Markham."

Many other institutions in Toronto and the GTA, from malls to universities, have had to assert that there are no known cases of coronavirus among their staff or students amid swirling rumours that originated online.

The virus, now declared a global emergency, has prompted some overt racism against the Chinese community, particularly on social media.

While airlines all over the world are cancelling flights to China and citizens are generally becoming more alarmed, buying up face masks and hand sanitizer, SARS was far more fatal and the common flu poses a far greater risk — also usually caused by a type of coronavirus and fatal for tens of thousands of Canadians each year.

The stats for 2019-nC0V at the time of publication stand at 200 deaths — all of them within China — and approximately 9,800 confirmed cases, four of which are in Canada.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

TTC conductor publicly shamed passenger for smelling bad and it was caught on video

The TTC has confirmed that they are investigating a situation after a video was shared to Twitter in which a conductor can be heard publicly shaming a passenger for smelling bad. 

In the video, originally shared by Twitter user Dylan Ungerman Sears, a TTC conductor can be heard making an announcement over the PA system saying that there is an "extremely foul-smelling person" on one of the cars who is refusing to leave.

He can also be heard urging commuters to call the TTC and complain.

"If you do not like that smell, please call the TTC and complain, because they once again seem to think that they have the right to do this to the train," the unnamed TTC employee says in the video.

"We need the public to get together and help take care of this issue because the TTC keeps allowing them on the system, even though they don’t have the right to be there when they’re doing that to the train and making everybody’s ride very very uncomfortable. It is also a health and safety issue as well."

Sears took to social media to share the video and express her disappointment about the way the situation was handled.

"Tonight on the #TTC a conductor made several announcements publicly shaming a passenger for how he SMELLED," she wrote. 

"Where is the humanity, respect, and basic decency that all passengers deserve?? There must be a better way. I’m appalled."

Sears also tagged several TTC Twitter accounts as well as Mayor John Tory and City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. 

Shortly after the video was posted to Twitter at 9:20 p.m. last night, TTC spokesperson Stuart Green responded that the incident is under investigation.

"The video is concerning. It is being investigated," he wrote on Twitter

"As a rule, we cannot and would not remove a customer from a train because of how they smell. If operators suspect a person is in distress or if there is a risk to the public, they are directed to contact transit control for instruction."

The TTC's customer service account also tweeted that they are aware of the situation and it is being investigated. 

by Mira Miller via blogTO