Jeff Garcia’s striking mural adorns one wall at Bar Neon (Image: Gizelle Lau)
Bar Neon opened last month, it became Bloordale’s answer to the trend embodied by places like Grand Electric and hip, local watering holes not afraid to serve food with a little ambition. Behind Bar Neon is 416 Snack Bar: Niki Tsourounakis , who grew up around the restaurant business, near Montreal. She also owns Café Neon in just outside the Junction Triangle and Amphora Products, a company that imports organic Vlatos olive oil and fleur de sel from Crete—both of which, naturally, make a few appearances on the plates at Bar Neon.
The space, which Tsourounakis designed herself, is welcoming and unpretentious, with a mix of antique and modern touches. Like so many new restaurants, the original ceilings of the room were excavated and restored from under the drywall, and exposed brick is buffed and given pride of place. Unlike most new restaurants, Bar Neon also features a stunning mural by local artist
Jeff Garcia, a friend of Tsourounakis, which helps warm up the space.
Bar Neon’s cocktail menu offers drinks at $10.50 each, including their signature: a bourbon negroni with Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari and West Indian orange bitters. The bar boasts a healthy selection of bourbon as well as Greek liqueurs like Metaxa, the requisite ouzo and traditional raki. On tap, there’s
Beau’s and a couple Mill Street brews.
In the kitchen—with just two toaster ovens and a deep fryer—is chef
Ivan Loubier, previously of Taboo in Muskoka and Didier . Loubier describes the menu as Canadian, with a dozen options that include marinated sardines on crostini ($10 for four pieces), salt cod croquettes ($9 for three pieces) and mini croque monsieurs ($10 for three pieces). Larger flatbread “tostas” ($14 each) are intended for sharing and include options like mushroom fricassee, salt-cured ham with black olives and arugula with duck confit, caramelized onion, potato and sage. Loubier also has a strong pastry background, and makes chocolate truffles (lavender on the night we visited) for $2 each. On Fridays and Saturdays starting at midnight, Loubier offers a late-night toonie bar, where small plates of oysters and other menu items are sold for $2 per plate. During the summer, the backyard patio will open up, offering outdoor seating as well as summer pig and lamb roasts. The yard is complete with a modified shipping container where they’ll serve drinks and shuck oysters.
Next up for Tsourounakis: a sit-down dinner menu at the café, where Loubier will be cooking.
111996 (Image: Gizelle Lau) House-made lavender truffle topped with fleur de sel ($2 each) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-14-truffle-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-14-truffle.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-14-truffle.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-14-truffle/ bar-neon-14-truffle 0 0
House-made lavender truffle topped with fleur de sel ($2 each)
111995 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Marinated olives ($3.50) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-13-olives-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-13-olives.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-13-olives.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-13-olives/ bar-neon-13-olives 0 0
Marinated olives ($3.50)
111994 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Mushroom fricassee tosta with triple-cream brie and herbs ($14) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-12-mushroom-tosta-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-12-mushroom-tosta.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-12-mushroom-tosta.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-12-mushroom-tosta/ bar-neon-12-mushroom-tosta 0 0
Mushroom fricassee tosta with triple-cream brie and herbs ($14)
111993 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Duck confit tosta with caramelized onion purée, potato and sage ($14) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-11-duck-confit-tosta-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-11-duck-confit-tosta.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-11-duck-confit-tosta.jpg 624 406  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-11-duck-confit-tosta/ bar-neon-11-duck-confit-tosta 0 0
Duck confit tosta with caramelized onion purée, potato and sage ($14)
111992 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Mini croque monsieurs ($9) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-10-croque-monsieurs-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-10-croque-monsieurs.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-10-croque-monsieurs.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-10-croque-monsieurs/ bar-neon-10-croque-monsieurs 0 0
Mini croque monsieurs ($9)
111991 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Salt cod brandade croquettes with saffron aïoli ($9) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-9-croquettes-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-9-croquettes.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-9-croquettes.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-9-croquettes/ bar-neon-9-croquettes 0 0
Salt cod brandade croquettes with saffron aïoli ($9)
111990 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Cassoulet with bacon, beans, tomatoes, garlic and herbs, topped with sausages and duck confit ($12) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-8-cassoulet-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-8-cassoulet.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-8-cassoulet.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-8-cassoulet/ bar-neon-8-cassoulet 0 0
Cassoulet with bacon, beans, tomatoes, garlic and herbs, topped with sausages and duck confit ($12)
111988 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Bar Neon’s signature drink, the bourbon negroni ($10.50): Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari and West Indian orange bitters Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-negroni-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-negroni.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-negroni.jpg 624 427  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-7-negroni/ bar-neon-7-negroni 0 0
Bar Neon’s signature drink, the bourbon negroni ($10.50): Four Roses bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari and West Indian orange bitters
111989 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Bar Neon owner Niki Tsourounakis making a bourbon negroni Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-tsourounakis-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-tsourounakis.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-7-tsourounakis.jpg 624 458  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-7-tsourounakis/ bar-neon-7-tsourounakis 0 0
Bar Neon owner Niki Tsourounakis making a bourbon negroni
111986 (Image: Gizelle Lau) The bathroom floor is inlaid with pennies (not, presumably, from heaven) Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-6-pennies-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-6-pennies.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-6-pennies.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-6-pennies/ bar-neon-6-pennies 0 0
The bathroom floor is inlaid with pennies (not, presumably, from heaven)
111985 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Out back, this space will be a full-fledged patio when the weather warms up. Drinks will be served from the shipping container Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-5-patio-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-5-patio.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-5-patio.jpg 624 397  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-5-patio/ bar-neon-5-patio 0 0
Out back, this space will be a full-fledged patio when the weather warms up. Drinks will be served from the shipping container
111984 (Image: Gizelle Lau) The tiny kitchen, with a couple toaster ovens and a deep fryer Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-4-kitchen-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-4-kitchen.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-4-kitchen.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-4-kitchen/ bar-neon-4-kitchen 0 0
The tiny kitchen, with a couple toaster ovens and a deep fryer
111983 (Image: Gizelle Lau) It’s not last call just yet Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-3-last-call-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-3-last-call.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-3-last-call.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-3-last-call/ bar-neon-3-last-call 0 0
It’s not last call just yet
111982 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Bar Neon’s bar, complete with de rigueur exposed brick Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-2-bar-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-2-bar.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-2-bar.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-2-bar/ bar-neon-2-bar 0 0
Bar Neon’s bar, complete with de rigueur exposed brick
111981 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Jeff Garcia’s striking mural in Bar Neon Introducing: Bar Neon https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-1-intro-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-1-intro.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bar-neon-1-intro.jpg 656 436  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-bar-neon/slide/bar-neon-1-intro/ bar-neon-1-intro 0 0
Jeff Garcia’s striking mural in Bar Neon
Bar Neon, 1226 Bloor St. W., 647-748-6366, . @Bar_Neon
12 thoughts on “Introducing: Bar Neon, a new Bloordale watering hole with some ambitious grub”
Stopped in there a few weeks ago to grab a few with some friends; great spot, and very accessible along the Bloor line. The menu looks great, which is something that I definitely want to try the next that I’m there.
Warning: those that are 6′ or taller (perhaps even just slightly shorter!) may experience problems in the basement level.
a ‘bourbon negroni’ is already a classic cocktail called a boulevardier.
The food at bar neon is incredible.The crostini with marinated sardines is crazily delicious and the codfish cakes are creamy perfection. Yum!! A great bar, quickly becoming a favourite of mine in the city.
Looks good and I’d love to visit both the Bar and Cafe but perhaps it’s a stretch to call Cafe Neon in the Junction. I live in the Junction and Lansdowne and Wallace isn’t it.
cafe neon is not in the junction. the junction triange is such that the neighborhood is contained WITHIN the 3 sets of tracks….cafe neon is sadly on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’
So article is about awesome new bar or technicality of geographical placement of cafe? You people are confusing me
if you can’t trust the basic facts of an article, then the remainder of the article becomes suspect
parkdaleeater is right, of course, by about 50 metres. We’ve updated the post.
…and now I am more likely to believe the rest of your article. I just likely won’t go there, as I work downtown and live in East York … this city is nothing if not near-impossible to navigate QUICKLY. It’s way too spread out and everything takes at least 30 minutes to get to. And now with the Fordtwins cutting the only reason I like living in this city (the Toronto Public Library), I’m going to have to move to Port Credit man!
If you can’t muster the energy to get on the bloor subway line, fine by me! Its in my hood (no, its not the junction) and I don’t mind shorter lineups for my fave places.
Looking forward to the dinner menu, but am liking hte current portions too.
Good call juan del toxico. But whether they call it the boulevardier or “bourbon negroni,” I’m still going to drink it
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