I was out for drinks with a friend who was visiting from Montreal last night, and I must have chosen my spots well, because I think he enjoyed. So, I figured why not put together a list of just a few of the watering holes that stand out in my mind on Queen St. West. If you’re looking for a VERY chill, somewhat artsy atmosphere, where everyone fits in, with or without piercings, tats, hats and/or wayfarer shades, you might enjoy these spots.
The places we went:
Java House, 537 Queen Street West
If you’re looking for an über casual patio with plastic tables and chairs, this is the perfect spot.
Inside, you’ll find a small bar and two rooms with old wooden booths, tables and chairs.
Java has a relaxed feel, awesome (and cheap) sangria, by the pint or the pitcher, some good sandwiches, okay breakfast (for those that are hungover from the previous night’s sangria), and great cappuccinos.
To drink: Sangria
To eat: Dinner: Pad Thai, Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs and Homefries with a side of fruit salad
Czehoski, 678 Queen Street West
This former Polish butcher shop and deli that has called this Queen Street West building home for over 75 years has a great contemporary ambiance.
With two and a half floors of tables, a bar on each floor, a small menu, Czehoski caters to urban young professionals and trend-setting artists of the city.
An old favourite of mine, the rooftop garden patio is a cozy spot for drinks with friends. With an extensive list of cocktails, wines and beers (if they haven’t run out of your beer choice, which happened to my friend twice), the bar list can suit anyone’s taste buds, but depending on your drink of choice, it may not suit the starving artist’s wallet.
To drink: A pint of Pilsner Urquell
To eat: Frites
Squirly’s, 807 Queen Street West
Squirly’s is the perfect spot for casual drinks. They’ve got about six (maybe more) good beers on tap, a martini list that looked delectable, and food specials for different nights of the week…I’m going for fajitas next time.
The vinyl siding and antique diner style in the front room almost makes me feel like I should be singing 'Grease Lightning' when I walk in; and I mean that in the best way – I love the styles of that era, (that style that, really, has never died - think guys in the classic white t-shirts, leather jackets and jeans...can you say 'hot'?)
The back room has a different vibe, but is just as chill. With some pink and black leopard print bench seats, straw detailing on the ceiling and upper walls to make it look like a darkened beach hut, it has doors that open completely to the cozy backyard patio. It made me feel as though there should have been a BBQ, and my friends sitting around playing guitar.
The staff are very nonchalant, and seemed like “whatever” types, but are quite nice.
To drink: Cameron's Cream Ale, or Amsterdam Blonde
To eat: Fajitas (Haven't had them yet, but I've heard good things)
Other places to try:
Terroni, 720 Queen Street West
If you like pizza, pasta, carpaccio (yummy), nice wines, coffee, or anything from southern Italy, this is the place to go. The Terroni's on Queen has been there for many years, and you almost feel as though you're at a big Italian dinner with family.
The food is fairly priced and absolutely incredible. They have the best, lightest Gnocchi I've ever had, and pizza that actually rivals those I had in Rome.
The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West
If you're looking for a nice light lunch, a good morning coffee, or a strong weekend drink, the Gladstone has it. Whether you’re in the Ballroom Café or the Melody Bar, you’re guaranteed good food, good drinks, and a sophisticated, antique atmosphere.
If you're stopping in, you should check out the hotel rooms - each one is different, designed/decorated by various artists. They also have great spaces for holding events (meetings, seminars, gallery exhibits, shows, etc.)
Cadillac Lounge, 1300 Queen Street West
Do you like karaoke? If so, try and catch Karaoke here. Otherwise, Cadillac Lounge hosts a range of different acts any given night of the week.
The back room, which opens up along one side to an expansive patio, made me feel like I was in a friend's garage drinking beers.
You'll see people from all walks of life. Regardless how you're dressed, how old you are, or what “scene” you hail from, it's an easygoing space.Any place that makes me feel at home, is a place I will try to frequent. There are plenty of great places to name on this strip, but these are my top choices, so far.