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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West

By Rebecca Fleming| Photography by Gabby Frank
What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West

Name: Convenience Contact: 1184 Queen St. W., 647-340-3640, conveniencerestobar.com, @conveniencerestobar
Neighbourhood: West Queen West Previously: Addis Ababa Chef: Pablo Robaina Head Bartender: Stephen Smith

The food

Assorted bar-food favourites (burgers, fried chicken, tater tots) but with a wacky twist here and there, like a sprinkle of Pop Rocks on a plate of shishito peppers, a gremolata of Goldfish on mac and cheese, or a Jolly Rancher-enhanced vinaigrette on an arugula salad. The Makin’ Bacon burger, meanwhile, is a shout-out to BK. “Everyone’s focusing on making Big Mac pretenders right now, but what’s that one burger from the ’80s that’s been neglected? It’s the Whopper,” says co-owner Jesse Carere. “Flame-broiled was where it was at.”

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Pop Rockin’ Olives: shishito peppers, pickled veggies, olives and feta, sprinkled with popping candy. $6.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Tap That: tapioca crackers served with salsa and nacho cheese. $5.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Yuca Tots: cubes of deep-fried yuca, topped with queso fresco, lime crema, mojo, pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes and jalapenos. $10.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Jah Bacon Beef Patty Sammie: a chuck beef and bacon patty served with cinnamon crema and a side of greens. $9.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Boom Boom Bap: jasmine rice loaded up with soy enoki mushrooms, quick-pickled veggies, a cured egg yolk and sweet sriracha. $12.

 

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What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Convenience Fried Chicken: boneless fried chicken drizzled with piloncillo syrup and served with a creamy slaw, honey dijonnaise and pickled veggies. $13.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Makin’ Bacon Whopper: Flame-grilled chuck and ribeye patty, topped with cheddar, bacon, house-made pickles, lettuce, onion, ketchup and mustard. Served with a side of shoestring fries. $14.

 

The drinks

A motley crew of beers, on tap and in tallboys (Molson Stock Ale, Tecate, Guinness, Lagunitas IPA); Ontario wine on tap ($0.94 an ounce!); and a whole bunch of cocktails, including a few classics (old fashioned, sazerac), some kegged ones for only $5 (negroni, paper plane, pina colada) and fun signature creations, many inspired by (or made with) candy. Candy Bombs are the bar’s take on bombs of the Jäger variety, like the Dr. Pepper made with amaretto, beer and cola. “This way, you don’t have to drink something that makes you feel like you want to die after,” says Carere.

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Kegged cocktails are only $5 each.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Bubblegum Sour: Gobernador pisco, bubblegum syrup, lemon juice, egg white, bubblegum. $11.

 

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What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Creamsicle: Bacardi Oakheart, Malibu rum, mango purée, orange juice, egg white. $11.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Chocolate and Cherries: cherry liqueur, vodka, cherry syrup, lemon juice, cherry bitters, egg white, chocolate shavings. $11.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Coffee Crisp: Kahlua, Bailey’s, Guinness, Coffee Crisp crumble. $11.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Dublin Iced Tea: Bacardi Gold, Disaronno, Cointreau, Red Bull. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Here it is again.

 

The space

“As kids, everyone had that one favourite corner store, where they got their bag of chips or their Garbage Pail Kids cards from,” says Carere, and Convenience Bar’s storefront sells a selection of treats (chips, Bubble Tape) and novelty items (View-Masters). The Community-designed space is decked out in neon signs and hand-stitched, video game-inspired wall art. Between the floor-to-ceiling windows, hanging greenery and fluorescent lighting, it’s a bit like being in a fish tank... a fish tank with $5 cocktails.

The theme carries through all the way downstairs, where guests can pick up one of four party lines to hear music or pre-recorded messages, before visiting the retro-wallpapered (She-Ra, He-Man), black-lit washroom stalls, where everything glows. (Extra fun for anyone who has recently taken a multi-vitamin.) Come warmer weather, garage doors will open onto a street-side patio.

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
The bar’s convenience store opens at 9 a.m., while the bar itself doesn’t open until 5 p.m. (That Pac Man game is $0.25 per play.)

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
That’s the kitchen to the left.

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
Four people from Community’s creative team hand-stitched this sign over the course of five days, thread by thread.

 

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What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
These TVs play security camera footage of botched store robberies.

 

 

What's on the menu at Convenience, a bar, corner store and portal to the ’80s on Queen West
The bar’s video-game theme extends to its exterior walls.

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