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Bang Bang Bar

Photo: Jimmy Lu

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / April 25, 2012

Bang Bang Bar quietly landed in the heart of Little Italy just over a month ago, and I was surprised to learn it was a direct transplant from the Bloor and Keele area. Having never visited its previous incarnation, I approach the space with fresh eyes--which, according to the bartender, is the whole idea. The old 'hood, paired with a presumed lack of clientele, prompted the change.

When I arrive, it's too early for the bar's evening revamp as a karaoke bar, and the space is more or less deserted. Fortunately, it grants me the bartender's full attention - I ask for a cocktail recommendation and she cooly informs me that they're known for martinis ($9.50), following a tongue-in-cheek comment about stiletto-ed 19-year-old-girls ordering Sex on the Beach. The Jolly Apple, with its blend of citron vodka, sour apple and lime is appropriately lip-puckering and stiffer than I'm used to for under $10. My boyfriend's bottle of Stella comes in at $6.75 while draught is $7.50.

Wine ranges from $5 to $9 for a 4 oz. glass, while retro shots ($7.50) and cocktails ($7.75) range from a Bourbon Street, which mixes Jack and amaretto, to a Zombie.

Then there's the decor: pseudo-gothic chandeliers encased in semi-transparent black screens, clashing monochrome baroque prints on the wall and couches off-setting the white cubic furniture.

We can't forget the piece-de-resistance: the plastic, armless (and mostly anatomically correct) busts announcing the men's and women's washrooms. Even the chairs are studded Parsons, and the high-tables bear Grecian columns for legs. It's certainly a look, but part of me suspects that it will fare better after a few good years of wear and tear.

In terms of food, prices are exceedingly reasonable with "anything and everything for $8:" order 2, and the price goes down to $7, or 3 and it's reduced to $6. Substitutions and extras--within reason--are permitted. Gourmet poutine includes the fascinating Long Dong Silver, a mix of grilled duck and porcini mushrooms over curds and gravy, or bacon-wrapped sea scallops. I can't speak to the quality, but a definite gold star for innovation on what could've otherwise been a very bland bar menu.

My boyfriend arrived before me, and was thus treated to a comment that bears repeating: "we play a lot more Jersey Shore (on the many TV screens) in this neighbourhood. We didn't use to do that at Bloor and Keele." Touche. I'm told that they're more of an evening bar, but by 8 p.m., there are still precious few patrons--the space is promising, but word-of-mouth hasn't yet worked its magic. My recommendation: give it a few months.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Big Wheel, Amsterdam Blonde, Birra Moretti, soon to add Sapporo
Signature Drink:
Any of their many martinis
Bar Snacks:
Full menu available
Eclectic, DJ beats and karaoke
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
19-to-40-year old karaoke enthusiasts
5 p.m. to close, Wednesday to Sunday



Rick / April 25, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Finally there's a place to get a nine dollar Martini in little Italy...

AV / April 25, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Thank heavens this eyesore of a bar left our neighbourhood!

Jim / April 25, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Dear lord, this place is going to fail so badly.

Matt / April 25, 2012 at 11:08 AM

$6.75 for a bottle of Stella? Even by Toronto standards, this is a joke.

Tapcon / April 25, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Might as well be proactive and write the deadpool article now.

Lindsay / April 25, 2012 at 11:11 AM

This is the same crappy bar Public just with more stuff in it. They kept the wallpaper! $7.50 for shots?? Retro shots? What is a retro shot and shouldn't it be cheaper if it's retro?

dolce / April 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Oh, Jersey Shore because they are in Little Italy. Har har har, borderline racist statements are hilarious!

Anyways, I live at College + Grace and I can think of three places off te top of my head where I cam get cheaper martinis/shots/etc. This bar is just Public with some records glued to the wall. Next.

eye eye / April 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM

maybe they could turn the lights up even brighter since everybody loves drinking in super bright over lit bars

Mark / April 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Didnt realize this place moved. I thought it jsut shut down finally. Agreed. Glad this place is out of our neighbourhood.

hop In replying to a comment from dolce / April 25, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Not to mention they have a dish called "Long Dong Silver".

J / April 25, 2012 at 2:35 PM


Japhet / April 25, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Wow. Tough crowd. Seriously though, they've got a wine sampling menu, they do tapas, tequila AND "Martinis"? Think they've got their bases covered?

Horrible design.

Dylan / April 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Woohoo! Funnest place on the strip... definitely needed on College Street!

DJ / April 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

We have been to this place for two weeks and every weekend it's packed! Great music and the bartenders are awesome.

Kelly In replying to a comment from Matt / April 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM

How much do you pay for a Stella over at Walmart?

I had my bachelorette over at the Bloor West spot and it was the best, especially when there's no creepy guys leering at you and bitching about the cheapest beer.

Suzie In replying to a comment from Matt / April 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Wine tasting menu is really great and reasonably priced. *****

Ash In replying to a comment from Matt / April 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM

I didn't get to try the poutine, but the grilled shrimp were amazing and only $6!!!
Not a drinker.
Decor is really cozy. Lots of couches.

Heather In replying to a comment from Matt / April 25, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Bon Bons! We're coming in this weekend to see you...big girls' night out! the new place so fab darling!

Glenn / April 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM

So lovely to see that once again we have opened under the radar without any controversy... and peeps always wonder why I choose not to spend the majority of my existence living on the internet... I'm going to stop typing now, I hear mom calling me from the main floor - so I'm going to run upstairs for a sandwich and see if my Speedo is dry yet.

OMG, can you imagine what's going to hit the fan when the patio opens?

We actually love you all... sorry if the wallpaper ain't your thing.

Sara / April 26, 2012 at 6:15 AM

HAHA, who is the guy bitching about the price of beer? Exactly the douche we don't want to run into - thanks for the karaoke glenn!!!!

leah / April 26, 2012 at 1:19 PM

pb & j martini? whaaaat? delicious that is all

LISA / April 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM

This place is great! Gay friendly! Music Friendly!LOve love it!

RS / May 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Bright lights? Quite the opposite oh wait, you're one of those people with no life who hasn't been but just makes random comments based on pics! tsktsk get a life poutine bar there is very well done

Salami n GabaGOO / May 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

No Salami and Gabagoo? Whats a Putine ? This bar portuguese? Why you no make menu like dipiliomatico? Whats a Bunga Bunga bar , Berlisconi?

Toodles / May 5, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Run, do not walk, run from this place. From the picture, I can see it's not big enough to accomodate the owner's ego and his sleaziness.

michael / July 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM

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