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

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.”

Pop Rockin’ Olives: shishito peppers, pickled veggies, olives and feta, sprinkled with popping candy. $6.


Tap That: tapioca crackers served with salsa and nacho cheese. $5.


Yuca Tots: cubes of deep-fried yuca, topped with queso fresco, lime crema, mojo, pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes and jalapenos. $10.


Jah Bacon Beef Patty Sammie: a chuck beef and bacon patty served with cinnamon crema and a side of greens. $9.


Boom Boom Bap: jasmine rice loaded up with soy enoki mushrooms, quick-pickled veggies, a cured egg yolk and sweet sriracha. $12.


Convenience Fried Chicken: boneless fried chicken drizzled with piloncillo syrup and served with a creamy slaw, honey dijonnaise and pickled veggies. $13.


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.

Kegged cocktails are only $5 each.


Bubblegum Sour: Gobernador pisco, bubblegum syrup, lemon juice, egg white, bubblegum. $11.


Creamsicle: Bacardi Oakheart, Malibu rum, mango purée, orange juice, egg white. $11.


Chocolate and Cherries: cherry liqueur, vodka, cherry syrup, lemon juice, cherry bitters, egg white, chocolate shavings. $11.


Coffee Crisp: Kahlua, Bailey’s, Guinness, Coffee Crisp crumble. $11.


Dublin Iced Tea: Bacardi Gold, Disaronno, Cointreau, Red Bull. $12.


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.

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.)


That’s the kitchen to the left.


Four people from Community’s creative team hand-stitched this sign over the course of five days, thread by thread.


These TVs play security camera footage of botched store robberies.


Anyone out there remember David Bronstein (a.k.a The Prince of Love)?


The bar’s video-game theme extends to its exterior walls.