What’s on the menu at Founder Bar, a new Little Portugal lounge with more than 150 cocktails
Name: Founder Bar
Contact: 1282 Dundas St. W., founderbar.com, @founderbar
Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
Previously: The Saucy Pierogi
Owners: Kendall Collingridge and Brad Gubbins
Chefs: Kendall Collingridge (Hooked, Spirithouse) and Debbie Dam (Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar)
“I love umami—that fifth taste that makes you go ‘Oh man, I want more of that!'” says Collingridge about his bar snack menu, which in true Toronto fashion has no geographic anchor. Instead, flavours from around the world are mixed and matched in small- and large-format sharing plates. Collingridge’s fishmonger background means he loves to bring in whole animals and butcher them himself, and he’s planning to develop an off-cuts special menu (think hot-smoked salmon heads and perch bottarga). His focus on sustainability can already be seen in some of the fish he’s sourcing: the Lake Erie perch, for example, is a delicious invasive species.
More than 150 classic cocktails, as well as a few house creations that use unusual ingredients like cucumber air. And lots of champagne: “Every booth will have a champagne bucket and we’ll be bringing in different interesting bottles and rare vintages monthly,” he says. The wine program has been built around Alsace-style wines from Europe and southwestern Ontario. As for beer, the focus is on local craft (Blood Brothers, Woodhouse).
When designing the 52-seat space, Gubbins and Collingridge channeled the look of the bar in London’s Connaught Hotel. Luxe details like tufted blue velvet couches and brass accents are balanced with industrial-type details (however, the “concrete” walls are actually covered in trompe-l’œil wallpaper imported from Norway).