Where to drink right now: Parlor

Canadiana done right

PARLOR 333 King West, 416-596-0004, parlorfoods.com, @parlorfoods

Canadians can be modest to the point of meek when it comes to championing our heritage. Many of us are confused about what our “culture” encompasses – or if it exists at all. Unless there are sports involved, our patriotism is particularly quiet.

That’s why we could use more spots like the newly opened Parlor to remind us to be more proud of our True North.

Housed in the former (now unrecognizable) Paese, Parlor makes an aesthetic commitment to Canadiana that goes deeper than HBC prints and antlers. Cedar, burlap and barnboard, not so repurposed that they’ve lost crucial rusticity, bellow “O Canada!”

Parlor’s kitchen and bar seek to contemporize the soul of Canadian cuisine and hospitality – a noble purpose in an area saturated with tourist traps.

Chefs and co-owners Brett Howson and Jason D’Anna and their team source and forage local ingredients to switch up the menu, scrawled in chalk, often. Expect staples like charcuterie, pickles, preserves and incredibly tempting desserts.

The bar, run by Japhet Bower (the Grove, the Whippoorwhill), focuses on local craft spirits (Dillon’s, 66 Gilead, Still waters) and Canadian legacy brands (J.P. Wiser’s, Forty Creek). VQA wines from small producers are on offer along with Ontario beer and cider. Cocktails incorporate unusual ingredients like whey (Miss Muffet’s Fizz with Dillon’s gin, Earl grey syrup, St Germain, ricotta whey, fresh lemon juice, peychaud’s ice cubes, cream, $14.25) and beet shrub and orange bitters (Buddha’s Delight with caraway infused whiskey, $14.25).

Notably different from its King Street neighbours, Parlor could become the kind of gathering spot that sparks new identity in a ‘hood that could use it.

Hours Tuesday to Thursday 11:30 am to 1 am, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to 2 am, Sunday 9 am to 5 pm. Closed Mondays.

Access No barrier at the door, washroom on main floor and downstairs. 

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