Introducing: Mavrik Wine Bar, a laid-back Queen West hangout run by two escapees from the corporate world
Mavrik Wine Bar, a cozy new place replacing the Korean spot San, quietly opened a couple weeks ago one door east of Queen West staple Czehoski. Following the lead of DeKefir, Prairie Girl Bakery and these guys, co-owners Joanne Park and Elizabeth Choi have done what so many cubicle-slaves only dream of. The childhood pals left high-paid corporate jobs to open their ideal hangout spot: a homey wine bar—hold the pretension. “We left our cares behind,” says Elizabeth, a former Wall Street trader whose love of wine was inspired by hip New York hubs like Terroir and Blue Ribbon.
Determined to make wine-tasting a little more accessible, the duo worked with sommelier Alex Hamilton to develop an international selection of small production wines and bubblies, mostly offered by the glass ($6–$15), like the Whitecap from Prince Edward County’s Hinterland Wine Company ($10). Wines are organized by key features—fruity for red or oaky for white—to demystify taste, and paired with cheeses and roasted beets from the Cheese Boutique. Novices can try one-ounce tastings before they commit to a glass, or ask the friendly staff for tips. A warm atmosphere matches the ambiance, with wood panelling, industrial accents and unobtrusive indie rock music.
The menu offers grazing-sized dishes ($6–$16), with pairing notes supplied by chef Mark Jarvis, who also happens to be a Juno-nominated trumpeter. Grilled calamari ($11) are served with a zippy pineapple citrus sauce, and a house-made sorbet trio ($8) brings lemon-basil, pineapple-rosemary and raspberry. The menu also features two poutines (each $10), one made with quail gravy and Ontario cheese curds, and the other with marinara sauce and apple wood–smoked cheddar.
Mavrik Winebar, 676 Queen St. West, 416-214-9429, mavrikbar.com.