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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games

Name: Function Bar Contact: 2991 Yonge St., 416-440-4007, functionbar.ca, @functionbarto
Neighbourhood: Yonge-Eglinton Owners: David Brocklehurst and Paula Poirier Chef: David Brocklehurst (Bravi) Accessibility: A flight of stairs leads down to this basement bar

The food

Haute pub grub with fast-food flourishes, like a taco topped with root beer–braised beef, Big Mac–inspired bao, and house-made mac-and-cheese gelato. David Brocklehurst is a self-taught chef with a zeal for culinary chemistry. Although he worked mostly front-of-house at Jamie Kennedy’s Wine Bar, he was always diligently taking mental notes on what was going on behind the pass. Later, he’d float between dining room and kitchen at now-closed Bravi, which is where he met his future business (and life) partner, Paula Poirier. Although many of Brocklehurst’s culinary techniques are borrowed from fine dining, most of the items take their names from cartoons. The bao burgers, for example, are called Steamed Hams, while the deep-fried pickles (done in a Miss Vickie’s honey Dijon crust) are called Pickle Ricks.

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
There’s always a rotating Steamed Hams special (bao burgers). The one with the blue aïoli (the unnatural hue is thanks to a few drops of food dye) is a Krusty Burger, which is a house-made bao filled with a brisket patty and a bit of mayo. (The blue aïoli is lemon-garlic flavoured.) There’s also an A&W Mama Burger–inspired bao, as well as a Bic Mac pretender. $8 each.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
The hoisin-braised duck leg tacos are topped with Dr. Pepper crema and kimchee, and served on a house-made flour tortilla. $6 each.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
The root beer–braised short rib tacos are cooked for seven hours and then topped with a mushroom fritto cloud and a dab of horseradish aïoli. $6 each.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
It takes almost two days to prep these pulled pork nachos. First, the pork is injected with a mix of spiced apple cider and left to sit for about 16 hours. The meat’s then smoked for another seven hours, finished in the oven for another six hours, then pulled and tossed in a house-made Jack-and-Coke barbecue sauce. The chips are topped with smoked cheddar and finished with a few squiggles of a mac-and-cheese mayo and some cilantro ($17). Also pictured here is the Williamsburg cocktail, a play on a Manhattan made with smoked apple-infused bourbon, Dillon’s Vermouth and house bitters ($13).

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
The Dirty Burger stuffs a house-made potato bun with a brisket patty, two slices of processed cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and a squirt of some Big Mac–inspired sauce. It’s served with duck fat fries or the house salad. $17.

 

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What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
This gelato dessert is a play on Neapolitan ice cream but it tastes like a three-course barbecue meal, with mac-and-cheese, roasted corn, and Jack and Coke flavours. It’s served with candy glass and cradled in a house-made tuile. $8.

 

The drinks

Poirier and Brocklehurst are both beer nerds, so Function Bar has 60-plus beer menu, but the selection is always changing. The focus is on Ontario (Silly Sir Brewing Company, Halo, Small Pony Barrel Works, Elora Brewing Company) and American craft. From the West Coast there’s Rogue Ales (Oregon) and Crooked Stave (Colorado), and from the East Coast there’s Oxbow (Maine) and Stillwater (Maryland). The cocktail card is pure fun. One of the creations is called Purple Drank (it’s garnished with a Jolly Rancher and a Twizzler, and served in a plastic cup). There’s also a play on a chocolate martini made with a house-concocted Count Chocula syrup.

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
Here’s Poirier pulling a pint of Collective Arts from one of Function Bar’s 10 taps.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
The K-Pop is made with gin, cucumber, lime, mint-infused soju and some soda. $10.

 

The space

Rather than try to hide the fact that this is a basement bar, Poirier and Brocklehurst have embraced the dark space. They’ve gone for an industrial look with gas pipe lighting and charcoal walls. They’re hoping to eventually cover a few of their walls with beer label stickers. Right now, they’re decorated with Polaroids of regulars and framed cereal boxes.

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What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
They had originally wanted to call the place Space Bar but the name was taken, so they decided Function Bar would do.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
They have Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and Atari consoles.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
If video games aren’t your thing, there are dart boards and a selection of board games.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games
The zine-like menus.

 

What's on the menu at Function Bar, a basement hangout for gonzo snacks and old-school video games

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