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Blondie's

Photo: Tim Shore

Posted by Jessica McGann / December 30, 2009

Blondie's is hedging its bets. This upscale cafe, serving solid cappuccinos and lattes during the day, moonlights as a trendy lounge bar after 7pm, from Wednesday to Saturday. Having two functions keeps this establishment right in step with the dichotomy of an area like the Parkdale stretch around Queen and Lansdowne: an economically-depressed neighbourhood haunted by homelessness and drug use that's equally populated by young and trendy professionals.

Blondie's is a far cry from some of the other local coffee shops serving day and night functions, like Coffee Time, but that doesn't mean it's missing the mark when it comes to location. Ever since the Drake Hotel became Club District West, the area's been opening up for dressed-up dancing spots and high-end cocktail bars for a younger, more solvent crowd than the area has known in previous years.

Although it's only just opened, Blondie's is already attracting many a business man looking to loosen his tie and listen to the live DJ spin lounge and house music; music which, to be honest, sounds like one long, never-ending instrumental homage to Jamiroquai.

The black leather seats and couches mimic the remarkable number of black leather jackets being worn by the bar's patrons. A rough-hewn slate wall runs along one side of the space. Behind the bar, a large mirror crowns the underlit selection of spirits and liqueurs, while enormous antlers wind themselves around overhanging lights. The scale and use of natural elements is decadent but not over the top.

In the back room, near the DJ booth, a disco ball and stripper pole set the tone for dancing. The stripper pole looks more ornamental than functional, installed as it is
at the very corner of a small stage. I have visions of inebriated dancers using the pole for a sultry walk-around and falling right off the stage, and feel compelled to extend a word of caution.

With its fully stocked bar, Blondie's can mix you up pretty much any cocktail your little heart desires. On tap, they're serving Sapporo, Maudite, Blanche de Chambly and "Blondie's" own ale, as well as the more run of the mill Sleeman's Cream Ale and Upper Canada lager. There's cafe fare available during the day but nothing to nibble on at night, yet. Wear your best jeans or a pressed shirt, and exercise caution when pole-dancing.

Writing by Jessica McGann

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Sapporo, Maudite, Blanche de Chambly, Blondie's, Sleeman's Cream Ale, Upper Canada Lager
Signature Drink:
Beer. And Lattees.
Bar Snacks:
None
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Live DJ, house and lounge
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
30-something club set, suits and ties, young professionals
Hours:
Bar open Wed-Sa, 7pm-close. Cafe open 7am-6pm, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm weekends

Discussion

29 Comments

Ess / December 30, 2009 at 5:35 PM
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Judging by the photos on their website (highlighting their spraytanned clientele instead of the decor touted above), the douchebag train is stopping further west. Pressed shirts belong on Richmond Street.

Steph / December 30, 2009 at 7:21 PM
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Ess, you're completely correct AND I've seen it in person. *shudder*

It's like a Jersey Shore episode.

Damien / December 30, 2009 at 8:34 PM
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My name is Damien and I work hard 7 days on (strictly) the coffee scene at Blondie's.

Anyways, Wow! This review is awesome and the comments are even better. When I read the Jersey Shore line I almost pissed myself laughing! If I had to force myself to find a failure in this great review, it's in the desultory and frankly chauvinistic way you 'review' Parkdale, itself, as an "economically-depressed neighbourhood haunted by homelessness and drug use." This is crass and offensive.

Nevertheless, big ups for the review, big ups for the wonderful and snappy lines (seriously- a joy to read), and big ups for calling my cappuccini "solid!" If you come in during the day and introduce yourself, I promise you a free one Ms. McGann. It'll even be worth braving the intense Mad Max war zone of drugs, homelessness, violence and anarchy that starts immediately West of Gladstone. (just kidding). Thanks again!

~d

geoff / December 30, 2009 at 9:36 PM
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Thanks for the mention and review Jessica. I, like Damien, work at Blondie's but in an alcohol related role.

Our nighttime clientele is much paler than the other reviewers would have you believe and we left the pretension and exorbitant cover charges to the more easterly clubs.

Come say hi and get loose.

mr. hood / December 30, 2009 at 10:34 PM
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again,
whats with the "essential" title for the establishment thats just opened..?????

let the readers decide if its essential or not by reviews in other forms of media as well as blogTO

its starting to sound like an advertising and marketing ploy for newly established bars... is blogTO getting a kickback or is Jessica????

im finding this list of "essentials" to be essentially wrong and completely biased on a media driven pop culture buy-in, instead of well established bars that have kept patrons coming back again and again because it has something real to offer...

jessica should really take the time to discover a neighbourhood bar rather than reading up on the hype reports on martini boys..

Tim In replying to a comment from mr. hood / December 31, 2009 at 12:16 PM
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As the Publisher of this site I can guarantee you that neither blogTO nor Jessica gets any kickback for writing up these bars. These are editorial decisions 100% and not influenced by any local business owners or other external parties.

toxique. / December 31, 2009 at 3:55 PM
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as a longtime parkdale resident, certainly i find the characterization of the neighbourhood a bit one-dimensional but not completely unjustified. those are serious issues in my community which continue to be pervasive. something i don't take very seriously is blondie's. i was moderately excited to see a new business pop up on the brock - o'hara strip yet disappointed that they basically used entirely the same decor as the previous failed business manhattan. they do make a 'solid' espresso. let's just hope the bar clientele does not get swept into the bridge-and-tunnel deluge lapping at the edge of brock.

geoff / January 1, 2010 at 2:10 PM
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I assure you 'toxique.', all of your guesswork is pleasantly reprieved by my desire to make everyone's visit remarkable.

Don't hesitate to walk in and say hi. I'm that smiley chap waiting to indulge your bad habits.

Happy New Year and thanks for the comments all!

Rokevena / January 2, 2010 at 9:18 PM
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I work just down the street from these guys and consider myslef blessed that they've joined the neighbourhood! The coffee is wonderful and most importantly the service is always spot on. Great job! Thanks for keeping me caffinated therefore sane!

wizard of ossington In replying to a comment from Damien / January 3, 2010 at 11:51 AM
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dude. internet rule #1 - don't reply to your own review. that is, for lack of a better term, totally gay. thanks for extinguishing any interest i had in visiting your club.

travis / January 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM
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ess your obviously the coolest pale guy west of jon street,

parkdale neighbour In replying to a comment from Ess / January 3, 2010 at 8:54 PM
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I was looking forward to seeing what would take the place of Manhattan. Seems exactly the same, right down to the cheesy wallpaper
and stripper pole. Ew, who would want a latte from here?

geoff In replying to a comment from wizard of ossington / January 4, 2010 at 1:32 AM
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seems like you didn't even read the review, or his comment, as he does the cafe aspect of blondie's.

trying to hate on someone involved in the conversation about their business is "totally gay?" you obviously have no idea about community management, social media or business.

the wizard of ossington In replying to a comment from geoff / January 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM
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geoff,
just because he is your gay lover this week does not mean you have to come to his defence on the internet.

Rokevena In replying to a comment from wizard of ossington / January 4, 2010 at 11:48 AM
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It's too bad this has become a forum for childish namecalling. Ignorance is a choice! Go read a book, a newspaper or watch the news. Inform yourself about something that really matters. Maybe when you've armed yourself with some real knowledge people will respect your opinion. Even better, you may respect others. Unless, you're stupid, and I'm not calling you names. Some people just aren't as intelligent. If this is the case, I feel sorry for you. Keep it up Blondies!

geoff In replying to a comment from the wizard of ossington / January 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM
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All your quips tend to be obsessed with homosexual pejoratives; have something you would like to get of your chest while trolling blogTO comment sections anonymously?

We will all be very understanding of your sexual roundabout, promise.

Damien In replying to a comment from the wizard of ossington / January 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM
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woah! these comments get spicy eh?

Alright Pozzo here's what Lucky thinks:

Your homophobia, illiteracy, Ossington affiliation, and contempt for service-class workers are all part of the same backward Jersey Shore caveman archetype. The idea that these reviews are no business of the staff is part of a broader neo-liberal ideology that seeks to eradicate the servant's voice altogether- seen and not heard, etc. Where was this thinking in the American civil war? It was found in slave owners, textile factory owners, and politicians that sought 'compromise' with the King. In the same way that we, the modern-day servants, are in precarious 'dialogue' with the neighborhood, we are also in dialogue with you online cavemen.

The difference is that reviews, and indeed all media of this sort, are BY AND FOR 'customers,' aren't they. It's funny that my business isn't my business, and my time isn't my business. My community isn't my business. My identity isn't my business.

Are you racist, too? Fan of the holocaust? Fan of Israel? (Eat meat, I can guarantee.) Hate women, a little? Or let me guess: it's ridiculous to compare such chauvinisms to yours. You are simply a consumer that votes with his dollar. I guess I should shut up and do my job better. Yes sir, sorry sir, thank you sir. I'm so sorry I thought that I was human too for a second.

(I'm so glad our coffee shop's actual daily customers are such amazing and down-to-earth people!)

Damien In replying to a comment from parkdale neighbour / January 4, 2010 at 12:14 PM
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I can see what you're saying. But if you tasted my latte you would understand who. You can get one 'to-go!' It may also interest you to know that the zebra-stripes and stripper's pole were added by the current bar owners- not the coffee shop staff or the owners of Manhattan.

me / January 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM
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i havent been there or anything but i will say that i thought it was neat that when i checked into the rhino on foursquare the other night, a little green flashing thing came up and said that the mayor of blondies gets a free espresso. kudos to blondies for at least embracing a new fun little city-exploring iphone app!

me / January 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM
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i havent been there or anything but i will say that i thought it was neat that when i checked into the rhino on foursquare the other night, a little green flashing thing came up and said that the mayor of blondies gets a free espresso. kudos to blondies for at least embracing a new fun little city-exploring iphone app!

Bill Stewart In replying to a comment from Damien / January 7, 2010 at 11:02 AM
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Wizard of Ossington,
In a week's time when you finish looking up all of the words in Damien's wonderful riposte, and you're trying to assemble a reaction, words will fail you. What you're experiencing is what you might call a "bitch slap". Now smarten up.

Jenny / January 18, 2010 at 7:28 PM
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Rediculous. Why has this evolved into back and forth personal attacks? Been to Blondies both in the day and night and I congratulate them on being able to offer two totally different atmospheres in the same space, catering to as many people as they can and trying not to exclude. Go visit before you pass any judgement (I personally won't be back at night though)

Jenny / January 18, 2010 at 7:28 PM
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Rediculous. Why has this evolved into back and forth personal attacks? Been to Blondies both in the day and night and I congratulate them on being able to offer two totally different atmospheres in the same space, catering to as many people as they can and trying not to exclude. Go visit before you pass any judgement (I personally won't be back at night though)

Spencer / January 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM
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I live in Parkdale and have been to Blondie's both during the day and at night; I enjoyed myself in both contexts. From what I understand some of those involved were also a part of legendary Element Bar. As such, Blondie's isn't afraid to showcase the more underground sounds of house music and offer a slightly more refined take on nightlife than that of Wrongbar across the street. The decor is decent with the antler chandaliers providing a particularly nice touch. For the size of the venue the sound system really fills the room and looks built with the dj in mind. To that end, I have been trying to get in contact with Blondie's via the gmail address provided on that site but to no avail. Is there an updated contact?

Lindsay In replying to a comment from Spencer / April 18, 2010 at 9:45 AM
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If you are on facebook, join their group/fan page to get in touch. Not sure why the gmail address isn't working. I've booked a party through their page. Prompt response and well worth it. My birthday celebration was there on Saturday night. The male bartender was pure eye candy and super-nice! I didn't mind the décor (actually like the Zebra curtains) and was impressed by the decent prices and clean washroom (thank God). Judging from some of the comments above, looks like there may be a bit of tension between the daytime/night staff...which is too bad. That's what makes the place unique. Café by day, bar by night. Can't be good for (either) business when it sounds like a competition is brewing (no pun intended). Going to try the coffee in the near future. I must say, for now, that Blondie's (by night) was the best time my friends and I have had in a while. Great music, crowd and atmosphere!! Will be back for sure!!
PS - Tried the stripper pole after a few drinks and didn't fall ;)

Ian / January 5, 2011 at 2:28 PM
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It is a good venue, but certainly not intended for any "underground" gig like the D&B one I attended there recently. As hinted, some of the patrons (and perhaps even staff) would better fit on Richmond Street, which really detracted from the event. Honestly can't say I would return to any future events.

CAROLINE / April 26, 2011 at 4:32 PM
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Best comments section. I laughed my butt off so hard. Thank you!

caroline / April 26, 2011 at 4:33 PM
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Oh and I will definitely be coming in for a latte now!

Pick / December 3, 2012 at 1:45 AM
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pages of interest we have a link to

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