Where to drink right now: Her Father’s Cider Bar on Harbord


HER FATHER’S CIDER BAR 119 Harbord, 647-347-7747, herfathers.ca, @HFCiderBar

We’re getting spoiled. With an unchartable number of specialty beer bars, “Wanna grab a pint?” is no longer a simple proposition. 

But while the mind-boggling assortment of craft beers is nice and all, what makes Toronto truly great is its diversity. It’s exciting to see bars subscribing to our strength by branching into specialty territory: we have places designed to sate sherry, rum, whiskey and mezcal cravings. 

Considering that cider is the fastest-growing beverage category in the LCBO (according to the Ontario Craft Cider Association), not to mention that our province grows a shit-ton of apples, it’s incredible that it took this long for someone to open a cider-focused bar. 

I, for one, am stoked it’s finally a thing. In addition to Her Father’s, the city’s first cider bar, which opened in May, Grey Gardens, Jen Agg’s anticipated Kensington Market project, will deal in cider and natural wine.

Until then, Her Father’s has more than enough to keep you slaked. The Harbord Street bar stocks around 100 ciders (12 of them on tap) from around the world. A handful ship from the States, England, France and Spain, but the majority are homegrown. Focusing on domestic cider makes sense for many reasons, not least because owner Joshua Mott’s family owns the award-winning Beaver Valley Orchard and Cidery near Collingwood. Mott’s familiarity with the cider industry and his desire to promote it are evident. 


On a recent visit, I tried Hamilton-based Revel’s Spirit of the Woods, an herbal oaked cider brewed with gin botanicals in collaboration with Dillon’s Distillery in Niagara. It’s a cerebral cider, not a style I’d usually care to crush consecutively. After finishing my ginny cider, I did a 180 and ordered something crisp, dry and simple.

I love Her Father’s for enabling that manoeuvre – so few bars in the city (save maybe Wvrst and Tequila Bookworm) offer a selection of ciders. I’m sick of seeing glorified juice as the solo appley option on otherwise decent drinks lists.

Brunch, lunch dinner and sharing menus shift depending on what’s in season, highlighting locally sourced ingredients in cider-friendly – and often cider-spiked – dishes. Even the cocktail list at Her Father’s, put together by head bartender Neil Hazelton, is cider-inspired. 

Since cider is so suited to summer, it should be noted that Her Father’s has a 40-seat side patio that’s open all day. Sounds like a worthy place to visit over the rest of August. 

Open Wednesday to Friday 11 am to late, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to late. Access: one step at entrance, washrooms in basement.

Staying in: what we’re drinking tonight 


Eric Bordelet Brut Tendre Sidre

Why When settling on a drink, much hinges on mood. But for me, Bordelet ciders are one of those rare liquids that don’t really require a decision the answer is never no. Formerly the “it” somm of the Parisian wine world, Bordelet threw his vinous sensibilities at his family’s orchards in Normandy in the early 90s. His biodynamically cultivated apple and pear groves (some of which harbour centuries-old trees) yield damn fine fruit that makes even finer cider. Off-dry, aromatic and honeyed with a quenching tang, it’s a great pick for an idle Sunday lunch of grilled sticky-sweet chicken or pork sausage. 

Price $17.95/750 ml

Availability Vintages 444117

drinks@nowtoronto.com | @S_Parns



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