Any bar that lets me have my say in music is okay in my books.
If you're a deejay in Toronto, you've seen my face before. Mine is the face that keeps popping up over your turntables to ask sweetly if you have such-and-such song. So when I walked into the Curzon on a quiet Tuesday evening and was asked by the bartender if there was anything in particular I wanted to hear - or if I wanted to play my own iPod - I was instantly sold. This might be the best bar in town, folks.
Formerly the dark and haunted-looking Queen Medical building, the Curzon's transformation of this forbidding Leslieville building into a hip, welcoming bar is like an analogy for the whole burgeoning neighbourhood.
The room is spacious and eclectically decorated with hanging chandeliers and auctioned-off estate furniture from Frontier Furniture . The medical building's old ceiling tiles are given new life on the walls and along the standing bar in the centre of the room. The atmosphere is comfortable; stylish but unaffected. In fact, the bar treads the line between lounge and pub so well that it's the perfect destination for nearly any occasion: a first date, a night with friends, rum and cokes in the afternoon - even bridal showers and private parties.
A short menu of tapas and snacks keeps drinkers fed, but isn't large enough to stop local restaurants like Leslie Jones and Gio Rana's from sending patrons over for a drink while they wait for a table.
I didn't have my iPod on me, but the friendly bartender was batting a hundred when I asked for something "sunny afternoon-ish" and he played some quiet jazz. It's not always quiet at the Curzon though. On Friday and Saturday nights they have a live DJ, Sunday is Karaoke night, Monday is Industry Night for service industry folks with a penchant for house music, and on Tuesdays, an early acoustic set is followed by big-name DJs trying something smaller after weekend appearances at places like CiRCA .
There's no patio, but space for one has already been designated along the side of building on Curzon St. Visit after work for a pint and a tasty snack in the $7 to $10 range, or later on to keep company with friendly crowds. The bar is open every night from 5pm and attracts Leslieville locals, music fans, and clubbers on their down time.
Writing by Jessica McGann