Unlike the tony wine bars of yore, which targeted the suits-and-heels crowd, Archive, which opened last month, is situated on the more dressed-down strip of Dundas West that’s home to The Black Hoof and Saving Grace (the bar’s next-door neighbour). The owners, brothers Joel and Josh Corea (Pizzeria Libretto, Ortolan), took over the exposed brick–clad space formerly home to vintage shop Apt. 909, and outfitted it with custom banquettes and high school science lab stools as well as a series of wine maps and charts, to create what they hope will become a cozy after-work destination.
The majority of the bar’s drink list is devoted to wines from Ontario, which are available in three- and five-ounce pours, as well as by the whole bottle. Particular favourites of the Coreas include Norman Hardie’s unfiltered chardonnay ($14 for five ounces) and Philippe Viret Renaissance ($16 for five ounces), a red whose producers follow a slightly kooky grape-growing and winemaking method they call cosmoculture (cosmic energy is involved). The menu, which was developed with the help of Ian Liepurts (Pizzeria Libretto) and Wendy Ma (Enoteca Sociale), is focused on small plates called cicchetti (Josh discovered them on a trip to Venice, where workers flood into wine bars for a glass and a snack before heading home for dinner). There are about 10 variants on rotation, including baccalà mantecato (creamed, dried cod), chestnut and speck and white bean and anchovy ($4 for three). They’re also serving Portuguese salt cod and potato fritters called pasteis de bacalhau ($5 for three), a nod to both the neighbourhood and the brothers’ Portuguese roots.
Archive, 909 Dundas St. W., 647-748-0909, @archive909