What’s on the menu at Black Pearl, a new bar in the Entertainment District with pool tables, bottled cocktails and pizza by the slice

What’s on the menu at Black Pearl, a new bar in the Entertainment District with pool tables, bottled cocktails and pizza by the slice

More New Restaurants

Name: Black Pearl
Contact: 184 Pearl St., blackpearlto.com, @blackpearlto
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owner: Scale Hospitality
Executive chef: Ted Corrado
Seating: 160 (room for 600 standing)
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

Toronto has an abundance of restaurants, bars and can’t-talk-it’s-too-loud nightclubs. Places with live music, dancing and food, where you can actually sit down and have a conversation with your friends? Not so much.

That’s the gap Black Pearl was designed to fill. This spot is for people sick of the bottle-service vibe—or anyone who appreciates the combined pleasures of well-balanced sound, late-night food and comfy couches.

The running theme here is a blend of high and low: there are high-end finishes and audiophile-quality sound design, but the overall feel is laid-back and unpretentious. Expect an older crowd, casual but well-executed food, and live entertainment that will include one-night-only big-name acts.

The bar’s Pearl Street entrance

 

Executive chef Ted Corrado

 

The food

Like everything at Black Pearl, the food is a blend of high and low culture. Think smash burgers, XL slices of New York–style pizza, hearty salads and fried chicken sandwiches. It’s all no-fuss in theory, but it’s also meticulously prepared by Corrado for a discerning crowd. The souped-up Twinkies, complete with rainbow sprinkles, are a must—if you thought you liked the sweet Hostess treat before, buckle up.

The team spent two months developing dough for their signature NY-style pies. The result is a thin base, thick outer crust, and XL slices for maximum foldability. On the left we have the margherita, inspired by NYC’s Joe’s Pizza—good sauce with a pleasant sweetness, a mozzarella-parmesan blend and fresh basil ($8 per slice, $32 for a whole pie). Ezzo pepperoni—top-tier stuff known for its bacon-like crisp—takes centre stage in Black Pearl’s pepperoni pizza, with mozzarella, tomato and basil ($9 per slice, $36 for a whole pie).

 

Here we have the Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich. The crispy, tender bird gets its kick from a bevy of spices—Mexican chili powder, cayenne, garlic and smoked paprika, to name a few. Lettuce, tomato, pickles and house ranch round it out. Served with thick-cut fries. $19

 

Sometimes, all you want with your midnight round of drinks is a really good cheeseburger. Enter this lacy-edged smash burger complete with pickles, signature GG sauce (a nod to Scale’s burger joint in the Beaches), onion, lettuce and cheddar. $18

 

A hefty, satisfying salad of iceberg lettuce, heirloom tomato, black olives, guindilla peppers and parmesan in an herbaceous Italian dressing. $19

 

For this caesar salad, a mix of dino and baby kale mingles with crisp chunks of Metzger bacon, a bit of red onion and croutons in a house dressing topped with parmesan and lemon zest. Let it henceforth be known that kale salad (done right) is as good a late-night nosh as any. $22

 

Behold: Twinkies with extra whipped vanilla icing, rainbow sprinkles and a generous helping of nostalgia. $5
The drinks

Cocktails include classic tipples with a twist, barrel-aged in house and available by the glass or bottle. Among these is a delectable take on a manhattan, made with house tobacco bitters. There’s also a solid craft whiskey menu and your standard selection of ice-cold draft beer. Every day brings three happy hours: house rail, beer and wine goes for $5 starting at 5 p.m., $6 at 6 and $7 from 7 to 8.

A take on a spicy margarita, the Purple Haze pairs spiced Cazadores tequila with butterfly pea flower, Cointreau, lime juice, agave, and red chili. $18

 

This pretty tipple is the Hemingway Daiquiri, an easy-drinking, lighter-ABV blend of Bacardi white, maraschino liqueur, and grapefruit and lime juices. $18

 

One of the bar’s barrel-aged cocktails, the Tobacco Manhattan combines house tobacco bitters with Bulleit bourbon and Dolin Rouge sweet vermouth. $19, or $180 for a bottle

 

The Shaft—the house favourite—is a boozy, caffeinated hard-hitter that blends Smirnoff vodka, Kahlúa, Baileys and espresso. Good for wee-hour-of-the-night second winds. $16

 

The space

Think cool-kid living room: curated street art, custom wallpaper, high-texture finishes, oversized vintage furniture and eclectic flea market knick-knacks. The massive space, split off into cozy sections, has two pool tables, lots of room to mingle and dance, and two lounge areas facing a big stage for live acts. Thoughtful sound design is among the most impressive features here—even when it’s loud, you can hear your friends.