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The Fountain

Photo: Dennis Marciniak

Posted by Robyn Urback / April 9, 2011

The Fountain is more of a gallery with a liquor license than a bar with local art on its walls. It began, though, as just a gallery, opened by OCAD graduate Maggy Perry and situated right in the heart of Little Portugal on Dundas West near Ossington. Maggy wanted a little something more, though, and almost a year after applying, The Fountain finally got its liquor license.

Now it's just beginning to make the transition from show space to two in one, but I think its charm is that it's lost somewhere in the space of neither.

The first thing I noticed walking up to The Fountain was the beautiful cascading chandelier in the front window. "I think that was a birthday present," the bartender tells me, "from Maggy's mom." Besides the chandelier and two small vintage lamps near the back, the entire bar is lit by candles.

Which isn't saying a whole lot, I suppose, since the space is fairly cozy, but it gives The Fountain a quiet, pleasant glow. If it wasn't for the eight-eyed pop-out alien sculpture staring at me from behind the bar (I have a thing about aliens) I would feel totally relaxed.

"Cool, eh?" the bartender says, noticing me eying the sculpture. "Check out the cakes," she says, motioning toward a group of frames near a back wall. Happy to leave my extraterrestrial friend behind, I move to check out the pictures, which are hanging above a small wooden table with two hairdresser's chairs pushed aside.

They're breakup cakes, with sullen messages written in sugary sweet icing including "I'm Moving to Australia Without You" and "Shit Or Get Off The Pot."

"That's totally Maggy's sense of humour. And it just works with everything else here." Chill and laid back seems to be the vibe. No taps, just a mini fridge, with domestic ($4) and imported ($6) beer.

An eclectic mix of liquor including Black Cherry Jim Beam, and a Fred Perry shoe mounted and strategically placed on a wall over a utility box. Even the music is laissez-faire, with an iMac at the back linked to the bar's speaker system.

"A lot of people who come here are OCAD friends," a man at the bar, who happens to be one of Maggy's friends, tells me. "But really, it's a place for everyone."

"It's so laid back," the bartender says, piping in. "We're not really 'cool,' just hanging around. And Maggy's incredibly charming. She even has the old Portuguese men in the area coming in for a drink."

The Fountain has a patio, but no permit yet; an espresso machine, but no coffee yet, but guaranteed lots of great, local art.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Just in cans and bottles
Signature Drink:
Irish car bomb
Bar Snacks:
In transition. Used to be soup and sandwiches, now cheese plates and TBD
Depends on who gets to the iMac first
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
OCAD grads and friends, locals
Monday to Thursday 7p.m. to 2a.m., Friday to Sunday 9p.m. to 2a.m.



Claude Edwin Theriault / April 22, 2011 at 7:50 AM

Read what you have done with art and Toronto space and it's very original and inspiring, keep it up Maggy.

Chris P / April 23, 2011 at 5:58 PM

The art shown here at Fountain was part of the Mixed Tape event featuring art by Ron Loranger (Blobettes) and Mike Gautier(13 faces, Alien, Pretty Lady). It was an amazing show, with amazing ART, and amazing music.

Much Love to Fountain and Maggy Perry.

olivia Martini / October 23, 2011 at 9:32 PM

I was there once and will never go back ,there are far better places to go on Dundas st west ,there is no patio , and feels very concrete .

dilla / January 9, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I'm just glad Robyn made sure to let us know what brand of computer they were using for the music. An iMac in an art gallery? Now I've heard everything.

lianne mauladin / May 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

there is also comedy there now on Tuesdays! Hosted by the very funny Steve Patrick Adams!

tumblin' tubleweed / September 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I love Fountain so much I refuse to give it a glowing revue because then it would be filled with people and I would have no place to sit at the bar.

The best thing is the people and conversation. If you sit at the bar on a slow night, you're bound to get into some good chatter. Also, the ribs are amazing but only on Wednesday.

Best nights: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, IMO.

betty / February 11, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Out of all the cool, cozy and atmospheric bars on this huge strip, this needs help. Decor is awful, including bathroom door opening on to main room. New owners have done nothing and have already set their clique - a not very flattering one. Not even a good relaxed vibe...

CryBaby / May 18, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Oh this place is amazing! We had so much fun there. It was the perfect get away. You can actually talk to your friends, the music isn't over powering at all. We were there for the tarot night. Everything was just wonderful. So many things to look at. I love it!!!

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