The Dock Ellis
The Dock Ellis launched this week at Dundas and Dovercourt , in a neighbourhood already populated with an abundance of watering holes. Amidst a glut of hip joints full of craft cocktails and DJs, Andrew Kaiser and Callum Woods ( The Emmet Ray ) have teamed with friend Alain Pitout to build a sports bar that caters to those who love sports, but not the spots you'd traditionally be forced to head to in order to enjoy them.
Named after the star pitcher, infamous for throwing a no-hitter whilst high on acid (who also had a custom-built hat to incorporate the hair curlers he liked to wear on the mound), Andrew and company have fused the traditional "screens-behind-the-bar" aesthetic with communal tables and a number of gaming options (such as foosball and pool tables) towards the back. On the way to the bathroom is a running scoreboard for the Backyard Axe Throwing League (Alain and Callum are members).
The food is also a major consideration here: Trish Gill (formerly of Beast ) and sous chef Mat Gulyas are turning out sophisticated bar snacks. After 10pm, the food can be collected directly from the hatch, eschewing the reliance on traditional waiter service as The Dock turns into a late night watering hole more befitting of the area.
The food stays around the $10 mark, leaving us with far cheaper options than is otherwise offered along the nearby Ossington strip. Alain's South African influence shines through in the classic Springbok snack, Biltong (a spiced jerky). Otherwise the sandwiches (all $10) are served with homemade crisps and pickles, and include the now ubiquitous (across this city at least) southern-style flour-dredged fried chicken thigh (with Sriracha ranch sauce) sandwich, and a sausage 'n' egg option.
The milk buns are from nearby OMG bakery, and almost steal the show. However, it was the nachos with beef brisket ($10), that gave us a really pleasant surprise. Topped with herb salad, pico de gallo / salsa blend, and crema, it's served on wontons instead of tortilla chips - they stay crispy until the last bite. Apparently, there'll also be a number of game day specials to snack on while you catch a match.
The Dock Ellis maintains a craft beer policy familiar to regulars at The Emmet Ray, with Amsterdam beers on tap (as well as Stonehammer Pilsner, Beau's Lug Tread, and Wellington ESB), with a few rotating beers by the bottle (Beau's excellent milk stout was on offer on our visit, as well as the brand new Collective Arts beer that's cropping up everywhere this week).
Given that the old sports bars of Little Portugal have been making way for craft cocktail spots or snack bars of late, it's nice to retain a spot where you can actually catch some of the action without being forced to choose between Coors Light or Canadian. I imagine this place will be first pick when I'm rounding up friends for the playoffs in the new year.
Sunday Brunch is coming soon, but in the meantime, The Dock Ellis is open 7 days a week from 6pm-2am, with food served until close.