Tiki bar mania heats up in Toronto

New tropical spots opening on Queen West and the Danforth


Is it 1958 in here or is it just me? Tiki culture, everyone’s favourite fun-if-weirdly-appropriative postwar drink craze, is seeing an undeniable resurgence in Toronto. First came the Bovine Sex Club’s rooftop patio, complete with thatched hut, then came Wrongbar’s partial transformation into Miss Thing, home of fruity cocktails and modern Hawaiian eats.

By the end of the year, you’ll have two more places to wear your coconut bra. At Danforth and Coxwell, Shore Leave is about to displace what was once the Lazy Hour Cafe (1775 Danforth). The spot is a joint effort by two former Only Cafe bartenders who plan to offer tropical cocktails, wine, beer and snacks in a Polynesian environment. Danforth East Online reports that the owners have already locked down their liquor license.

Closer to the Bovine and Miss Thing’s turf on Queen West will be the Toronto outpost of Shameful Tiki Bar, a beloved Vancouver watering hole. Bamboo-slicing and tiki mask-mounting is already in progress at 1378 Queen West in Parkdale, where the new location will feature the same 40-drink-strong cocktail menu and tropical decor as the original.

“We make our falernum and all spice syrup in house, we squeeze about a billion limes a day and we serve every drink in the period-correct glassware,” says owner Rod Moore. “My only point with this is that for me it’s 100 per cent authentic or nothing – that’s it.” 

Both bars are set to open this November – just in time to distract ourselves from the snow for four straight months.

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco

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