New York’s not in the house: Queen West’s latest bar named after owner’s cat

New York’s not in the house: Queen West’s latest bar named after owner’s cat

Cat power: Zak Kellar and Ryan Boudah named their new bar after Kellar's kitty  

West Queen West seems less like hip strip and more like a series of failed, shuttered bars of late. Cock and Tail, The Kitchen have closed, and many others, like Midpoint, are stalled at various stages of renovation. Curious, we started looking into what the next generation of joints in the Drake district would look like. First, we previewed The Bar with No Name, and now we’re looking at Brooklynn—a boozery with swagger that’s soon to take over where The Kitchen left off.

After working under other bar owners for more than a decade, long-time friends Zak Keller (Brant House) and Ryan Boudah (The Hideout) are opening their own place. Brooklynn, despite its name, will have nothing to do with New York, says Keller, noting that the place is named after his cat. Instead of black and white murals of the Brooklyn Bridge, the space that was once The Kitchen (turns out people aren’t crazy for chocolate ribs) will have a rock ’n’ roll theme, with the top of the bar covered in Rolling Stone covers, guitar cases signed by everyone who worked on the place and large prints of rocker chicks aptly named Brooke and Lynn. The exposed brick remains untouched but The Kitchen’s cold, white walls and stainless steel have been replaced with warmer red tones.

The bar menu is classic rawk: “The Mickey” will contain Jack, Jameson, Jager and vodka ($40!); $4 shots and $6 pints will also be served. As for food, there will be the standard steak frites and burgers, but Keller says their specialty will be the “jacked potatoes”— a twist on jacket potatoes—with smoked salmon, tuna melt, chicken pot pie and poutine varieties.

“The vibe in here is a seven-day-a-week neighbourhood bar. It’s not a Thursday to Saturday club where it’s promoter driven. We’re also going to do Sunday brunch for families, and of course, those with hangovers,” says Keller. “We don’t have room for full-out bands yet, but we have friends who are musicians so we’d like to do acoustic sets…It’s going to be set up so people can just walk up and request anything they want to hear. Everyone is a part of the party.”

Brooklynn, 1186 Queen St. W. (at Northcote Ave.) opens tomorrow.

• Know anything about new (or old) establishments on the West Queen West strip? Let us know via e-mail: tips@torontolife.com.