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3 Speed

Photo: Alex Russel

Posted by Guest Contributor / August 13, 2009

I remember, not so long ago, when Dufferin and Bloor was a bit of an urban backwater. When creepy, outdated mannequins stood vigil in every storefront window and the dive bars really were dives - the kinds of places where men who wore trucker caps actually drove trucks. But it looks like good ol' gentrification is sweeping Blansdowne up into its arms at last, driving out the terrifying mannequins in favour of art galleries, restaurants like Calico, Starving Artist and Holy Oak, and finally, a hip bar.

3 Speed blends the chic look of exposed brick wall and fancy art pieces with comfortable retro-basement touches like faux wood panelling and tacky lamps. In fact, it hits the mark on all the of the usual dive-bar-that-isn't-actually-a-dive-bar indicators: insufficient signage, Labatt's 50 in the fridge, and indie hits playing in the background. That might be because the bar is co-owned by Paul Emery and Trish Welbourn of Communist's Daughter fame. Clientele-wise, I felt right at home among my own demographic: over-educated 30-somethings dressed up in their going-out wear: cords, glasses, knee-length skirts.

The bar isn't heavily stocked in the liqueur department, but has a robust selection of beer and wine, plus a specials menu of "Drinkies" posted by the bar. I had an Irish Rose off the specials menu and loved how the cider and Ribena mixture tasted as frou-frou as a cocktail, while still looking respectable in a pint glass. The menu is divided into three "speeds" according to price and quantity (hi, med, and lo) and offers a dressed-up selection of sandwiches, appetizer platters, salads and entrees at reasonable prices. There's no dessert, but a full dinner can be had well into the evening, in an atmosphere that is more upscale than a pub.

On Mondays, The Beauties come up from Dakota Tavern to play an acoustic set. Tuesdays is live lap-steel guitar, and on Wednesdays a DJ spins vintage tunes from as far back as the '20s. There's a patio out back that has the feel of a neglected backyard and gets staked out early by smokers. There are no mannequins in the window.

Writing by Jessica McGann

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
MacAuslan Cream Ale, Mill St. Tank Ale, Guinness, Okanagan, Creemore, 3 Speed Lager, Waupoos cider
Signature Drink:
Changing specials from the "Drinkies" menu
Bar Snacks:
Salads, charcuterie platter, full menu
Live music on Mondays and Tuesdays, DJ on Wednesdays, iPods with sophisticated selections the rest of the time
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Bohemian bourgeouis, regulars from Communist's Daughter and Dakota Tavern
5pm - 2am daily



Katy / August 13, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Looking forward immensely to trying this place since the Commie is my favourite place to hoist a jar in the whole city.

ramanan / August 13, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I'm impressed i've actually managed to get random people to call the area Blansdowne.

TM / August 13, 2009 at 4:16 PM

My new neighborhood bar, I am very happy they opened up the street from my home.Especially since they carry one of my favorite beers. St. Ambroise Cream Ale.

Place needs more ladies though...

Paul / August 13, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Curse you ramanan! (j/k) This neighborhood puts up with enough ugliness already, it doesn't need an ugly nickname as well.

The 3 Speed is a great addition to the area. It's worth noting that their small menu includes some interesting vegetarian options - like the portabello reuben sandwich - which is a nice thing to do.

tyler / August 14, 2009 at 10:11 AM

ram, you'll know you've succeeded when an MLS post says "located in trendy Blansdowne"

tracy / August 14, 2009 at 11:51 AM

hopefully the trendy new nicknamed doesn't include the meaning "bland"...!

Sarah In replying to a comment from Katy / August 14, 2009 at 2:05 PM

hoisting jars!!! Come on!!

chris / August 14, 2009 at 7:31 PM

love it.

Katy In replying to a comment from Sarah / August 17, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Is that an invitation??

wordguy / August 24, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Went here for drinks on Friday night. You can easily sit alone at the bar or enjoy the company of friends on the cozy patio in the back.The 3 speed brew on tap is solid too.

Fi / September 23, 2009 at 11:03 AM

wouldn't the more appropriate ugly area nickname be 'Blufferin'? I kinda like it..

kelly / September 30, 2009 at 12:56 AM

i voet for blufferin! and hopefully the patio is out in the open so i can get some rocks thrown at me by some random kids. cheers.

mberr / October 16, 2009 at 7:44 PM

I've just gotta say, all of you are hilarious. I hope to meet you there : )

everlast3434 In replying to a comment from ramanan / January 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Another vote for Blansdowne.
But dont forget the 'D'

melissa / February 3, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Here's a better one that we have really been trying to make happen "Landsdowntown"

JR / July 6, 2010 at 3:58 AM

3 Speed tenders are a bunch of douches... pretentious nobodies with nothing better to do than cause a ruckus. "hey everyone, i fully intended on being a star in toronto so instead i rather tend at a bar, totally my choice, definitely not by default."
if it wasn't catered by a bunch of assholes i'd recommend swinging by, but instead i suggest you grab a sixer and hang in your backyard. keep your money for your pocket rather than giving it these douche bags.............

El / July 15, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Best Mac n Cheese ever!!! Love their backyard too. Super friendly bar tenders, they even remember what I like to drink.

rp In replying to a comment from JR / July 29, 2010 at 3:30 AM

Are you high?

aces In replying to a comment from JR / September 12, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Seriously? I think the bartenders at 3speed are some of the friendliest in the city. This is my favorite bar in the blansdowne area, and one of my top 10 in the city. Don't know why you had a bad experience, but I would reccomend going again.

Uhclem / October 4, 2010 at 6:50 PM

It's called three speed as it was once the home of Bloor Cycle, Toronto's best bicycle store in the '70s.

annaF / December 6, 2010 at 10:47 AM

What does "over-educated 30-somethings" mean? You went to grad school but work at a mindless job surrounded by dumb-dumbs?

mmMmm / May 13, 2011 at 9:37 AM

They're serving brunch now.
It's pretty solid. Best in the Blansdowne/Blufferin stretch, in any case.

Plus, you can't go wrong with a Bodum's worth of coffee on your table.

Salem / February 2, 2012 at 1:41 PM

The last time I ate at 3-speed will probably be my last. Since the menu hasn't changed since they opened, and it's rather lackluster to begin with, I ordered a special - a steak sandwich. And it tasted like fish. No thank you!

The Bear / February 8, 2012 at 11:11 PM


imgur it, you'll see. hehe

Ted / June 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

It's a nice place. good patio out back. I's true that they should vary the menue.

Shawn / June 30, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I ordered baked eggs here somewhat recently but seems I just got the regular kind not F**KING BAKED EGGS, kind of disappointing.

John Gloucester / July 9, 2012 at 5:41 AM

3 Speed can now be found on the because of its proximity to Dufferin TTC Station. Now you can visit the Better Responsible Way. Cheers

Shawn In replying to a comment from Shawn / August 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Just incase you didn't understand this it is a reference to a post on Reddit with a receipt that said fucking baked eggs... guess a person working there was having a laugh.

This place is great.

Lavender / May 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

The atmosphere is nice and laid back but the tables on the patio are so close together that it's pure hell for non-smokers. Not fun when people are douchebags about it. The food however is very good (portions are small-ish) and the beer selection is excellent. The house wine (I had white) is pretty good. But here's the real problem: the service blows. Our waitress was flaky and at one point she disappeared. If service on the patio is cut off at a certain point, she certainly didn't feel the need to tell us. Guess what kind of tip she got?

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