Where to drink right now!


What happens when a single street begins to feel the strain of wall-to-wall bars? They start spilling out onto surrounding avenues. 

Hanmoto, the latest venture from the Han clan (Oddseoul, the now shuttered Swish by Han), is a 30-seat Japanese-inspired snack bar pinched behind the Churchill’s patio on Lakeview. 

The tight, angular space is gently illuminated in red and turquoise. Lined with metal work and bamboo, it feels subterranean and almost otherworldly – all the better to lose yourself in a few bevvies and a faceful of snacks. 

If you’re expecting grilled meat on a stick, better known as yakitori, bear in mind that, just like his approach to Korean at Oddseoul, chef Leemo Han‘s take on Japanese has a hefty dollop of ‘Murica on top. 

The Katsu Bun (panko-crusted slow-cooked pork belly with soy remoulade and lettuce, $7) tastes like the best Big Mac mutation yet. Dyno wings ($8) are deboned, stuffed with pork and finished with kewpie mayo, nori and chilies. 

The drinks are light and easy, bending to the food: Japanese beer like Asahi (on draught, $8) and Asahi Black (bottled, $8), generic bottles of Tiger ($6), Tsingtao ($5) and tall cans of the shitty beer that won’t die, PBR ($6). Bottles of sake are also available. 

The cocktail list is no spirit-pusher, focusing entirely on refreshment. Signature drinks feature cleansing flavours like Asian citrus, shiso, ginger and cucumber – all meant to cut and complement the heavy food.

We’re happy to report that we’re not the least bit tired of Toronto’s snack bar trend – spots like Hanmoto add welcome spice and variety to nights out. Ultimately, the more you eat, the more you can drink without facing devastation the next day. 

Access No barrier at the door, washrooms upstairs

Hours Monday to Saturday 6 pm to 2 am. Closed Sunday.

Brand Voices

NOW Magazine