The Crooked Star doesn't post its name on the door, opting instead for a small red star. I'm known for my directional deficiencies, which always makes finding this cozy little nook a challenge. But it's worth it every time, because entering The Crooked Star is an invitation to a cool dark otherworld where classic drinks are more delicious, toaster ovens can produce tasty treats and standing-room-only feels like a privilege.
With a perfect balance of kitsch and comfort, The Crooked Star's decor is as finely tuned and inventive as its signature drinks, multi-culti Caesars which take their creative cues from the diverse communities of Toronto. Indian Caesars are spiked with tandoori sauce. Japanese Caesars with wasabi. Jamaican Caesars come with jerk sauce. French are served avec capers and Dijon. Mexicans con salsa picante. Barbadians with hot yellow pepper sauce and Korean Caesars come with - yes - kimchi.
Bar snacks are equally inventive, considering The Crooked Star's only cooking implements are a toaster oven and a slow cooker. Nachos, quesadillas, chili, spring rolls, pulled pork burritos, veggie curry burritos and chicken wraps compete for most delicious dish alongside a rotation of Crock Pot specials.
For tongues tingling with post-Caesar or after-nacho burns, Hendrick's Gin and Tonics offer a cooling twist on the old colonial favourite, an infusion of rose and cucumber providing an English garden flavour fit to mellow away any spicy adventures. Anglophiles can also get their fix of the home country on Sundays at 2pm, when The Crooked Star plays the previous week's entire run of Coronation Street episodes in a glorious marathon of Rovers' Returns reruns.
Capacity is limited to 33 inside, and 13 on the patio, so it's best to get to the Crooked Star early.
Writing by Devon Scoble