The Pacific Junction Hotel is not, despite its name, a hotel. Instead, it’s a brightly coloured new bar in the King Street East space that formerly housed Brad Long’s Veritas, and it’s packed from floor to ceiling with whimsical pieces. Owned by the same people behind next door’s Betty’s, this free-spirited cousin is a much-needed injection of laid-back island attitude into the sometimes staid neighbourhood.
The space is decked out with fantastical finds plucked from all over the world. Up front, repurposed oil drums act as stools; in the back, a former bathtub serves as a two-seater (one whole edge has been removed). Twinkly Christmas lights butt heads with pink plastic flamingoes, while mismatched fixtures dangle above, illuminating an eclectic mix of retro tables and chairs. Out back, the patio is brightly striped in a medley of pinks and greens (it’s probably best to avoid following excessive tequila consumption).
Aiming to attract the local barflies (whether from the nearby George Brown campus or the Toronto Sun building across the street), the main focus here is, naturally, the booze. Patrons can peruse the cheeky menu—craftily pasted into vintage magazines—to choose between the various hard-to-find tequilas (Rojo Verde Reposado, say), mezcals (like Cha Cha Cha) and under-appreciated rum picks (Pyrat XO). The signature cocktail is the Coronita ($10.50). Served in two parts, the hands-on concotion involves pouring a Corona into a margarita-filled mason jar. Food options include a guilty-pleasure combination of two drunk-food favourites: poutine spring rolls (the latter wrapping the former), available with either oxtail gravy or mushrooms and caramelized onions ($9). There really isn’t another bar in Toronto with quite this tiki-lounge-meets-junk-shop vibe.