Camp 4 is a laid back spot in a Dundas West area still continuing to define itself. Inspired by a mountain hangout at California's Yosemite National Park, the bar is so lodge-like that it smells of moist lumber. The wood-heavy decor is a nice change from the common modernity of Queen and College West bars, but not unlike local haunts like the Dakota Tavern .
The bar has an acoustic rock ambience. "I'm very into rock and roll," says owner Joseph Tanner, "I think Toronto has enough bars with house and electro music." Camp 4 isn't a party, it's an open, relaxing place to have a drink; a traditional watering hole. The bar has a basic design, with dim lighting, candlelight and cabin decor surrounding rows of small tables along each wall, making good use of a narrow space.
The signature drinks are fairly standard rum and tequila variations of The Old Fashioned whiskey blend. The drink is a perfect fit for Camp 4. It's heavy on rich Flor de Cana rum, with bitters, maple syrup and topped with orange zest. It's the drink you'd mix on a hunting trip - however you interpret that is up to you, but just know that it's a welcome deviation from the norm.
Besides the Old Fashioned and other standard cocktail blends, Camp 4 has a wide range of bottled beer and wine. Still in a transitional phase (not yet what it's supposed to eventually be), Tanner plans to enlist the services of local brewers like Beaus .
With alternative/acoustic Indie rock playing, Joseph Tanner, tattooed and bearded, anticipates having live music - and they just barely have the room for it. You can't help but think, though, that they are set up for a losing battle with Dakota Tavern and The Garrison . It seems like they're still in the process of figuring out how to differentiate their bar.
Besides mixed nuts and other finger snacks, Camp 4 is foodless, but Tanner hopes, eventually, to have coffee and catered croissants, and then develop a brunch menu.
An industry veteran with experience at Toronto bars and restaurants like Terroni , The Loretto and Bar Italia, he's ambitious about the bar's future. If he follows through on his plans for local beer on tap, live acoustic music and a brunch menu, Camp 4 could be a great spot for the area. Formerly occupied by the Yauca Sports Bar, and then the Fantasy Karaoke Bar, Camp 4 may be the next Dundas West letdown, or exactly what the locals have been waiting for.