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Photo: Eugen Sakhnenko

Posted by Eugen Sakhenko / May 31, 2009

There's something afoot on Dundas West. Traditionally the place you went to get a Portuguese tart or some other kind of fix, the last few years has seen a steady stream of bars and food joints inching steadily west. And while the strip still has enough dollar shops and dives to keep its ghetto-chic credentials, a week can't seem to go by without another opening in the old car repair district.

Launched last year west of Dufferin, the Henhouse plants its flag even further afield and declares 'Here be no dragons'. Run by Katie Sketch and Jenny Smyth formally of Vancouver rock outfit The Organ, this little bar is already ticking a lot of the right boxes.

For two people who didn't know anything about opening a bar except that they wanted to do it, the former Organist's have done an impressive job of making this former crack den cozy. The interior is a mash-up of styles much indebted to the schools of Value Village and craigslist - think lots of lamps and knick-knacks your granny used to have. The shabby-stylish aesthetic works and this labor of love feels like it's been here longer than just a few months.

At the bar things are kept simple. Don't expect cocktails but with Cameron's Lager on tap for $5.00 why would you? Beer enthusiasts will be pleased with the selection of local brews (Cameron's Pale, Mill St, Creemore) plus the usual wines, spirits and mixers.

The small kitchen currently turns out a rotating menu of cheap and cheerful soups such as Shrimp Bisque, Minestrone with Pesto and Black Bean w/ avocado sour cream, and the all-you-can-eat pancake brunch sounds pretty hard not to like.

Drawing a mainly local clientele, the friendly staff ensures a relaxed, comfy atmosphere. A jukebox filled with owner Sketch's personal collection covers everything from Dionne Warwick to Joy Division, and the cheap beer guarantees patrons will have shrapnel to swing to.

In-between all that drinking and djing you may have occasion to visit the washrooms. Wall-papered with old high school yearbooks, it's nice seeing all that 70's hair en vogue again back in the bar, and a pleasing reminder that some things never go out of fashion.

Things like a local with cheap beer, good food and friendly staff. Things that seem to be popping up more and more along Dundas West these days.

Writing by Daniel Kuseta

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Cameron's lager
Signature Drink:
Labatt 50 and Jameson
Bar Snacks:
Nachos, Grilled Cheese, Stew, Pickled eggs
Jukebox (Talking Heads, Traveling Wilburys, Kate Bush, $100, Dolly Parton, The Modern Lovers, Prince)
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Dundas West Locals
6pm till 2am + weekend brunch



LC / June 10, 2009 at 1:27 AM

Truthfully, beer enthusiasts hope for more than Creemore, Camerons and Mill street.

Tim / June 10, 2009 at 9:43 PM

Anyone tried the brunch here?

david / June 11, 2009 at 7:49 PM

I popped in here end of January and thought it was a dyke bar....:p Since I loved the Organ, I'll have to stop by here soon.

Carly In replying to a comment from Tim / June 11, 2009 at 9:39 PM

Yes, and it is DELICIOUS. The pancakes are truly amazing.

Farzana / April 3, 2010 at 2:41 PM

Had a terrific brunch this morning. Had a cheese omelet with avocado and salsa, home fries and toast and my friend had a cheese and mushroom crepe with scrambled eggs and home fries. Large portions, yummy. Good coffee and dyke vibe too. Love eating brunch in my neighbouhood.

patrick / July 1, 2010 at 9:28 PM

nice, quiet bar.

Jack / July 29, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Loved the nachos. Loved my beer. Loved the music. A great bar with good food.

Caroline / August 11, 2010 at 5:43 PM

It is a dyke bar.

Oni / November 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Henhouse has a fantastic brunch, and they are not stingy with their pancakes. Yum. (However, it's located just east of Sheridan, not west. I think you're getting the location confused with Naco Gallery).

John / November 25, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Dyke bar?
I'm sure they will serve you beer and nachos none the same. Its cozy. Go there.

Elena Potter / November 29, 2010 at 7:17 PM

I took my mom here for brunch over the weekend, and we loved it. The breakfast burrito was terrific and the home fries/hash browns were among the best I've ever eaten! Loved the vibe here too..

Gill In replying to a comment from Caroline / April 18, 2011 at 3:26 PM

I really can't stand it when people say it's a dyke bar. It's an everybody bar. Anyone that goes there knows that.

Gill In replying to a comment from Caroline / April 18, 2011 at 3:26 PM

I really can't stand it when people say it's a dyke bar. It's an everybody bar. Anyone that goes there knows that.

Madeleine / June 9, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I went here last night with a bunch of friends as a goodbye shindig (I am moving out of Toronto). Our waiter/server was really nice young man and we had a great time, until the very end. I was finishing my beer, and I stood up to hug a couple of friends goodbye. While I was up, a woman came and started clearing all of the cups from the table. A couple of my friends were not even leaving yet, they were just outside smoking. I turned to her as she was picking up my glass of water, and I told her that I wasn't finished with it yet. She gave me an evil stare and aggressively put it back on the table. She then proceeded to pick up my pint, which I also wasn't finished with, and I told her I wasn't finished with that either. She just looked at my like I was an idiot and said "there's only like a centimeter left", took my pint (which had more than that in it), and walked away. I was so perturbed! What an awful end to a lovely night!!! My original server noticed the annoyed look on my face, and kindly came over to ask me if everything was alright. I told him what happened and he apologized for that lady. I asked him if she was new, maybe she doesn't know how to serve very well yet...turns out - she is the OWNER OF THE BAR! I went to their website today so I could provide feedback about this terrible service in an email, but they don't have an email address. I will not go back to this bar. The poor server is having to apologize for the owner of the joint for having terrible customer service relations, and frankly, for just acting like a rude biatch. Too bad - it was a nice place. I would not recommend it now - go support someone else who deserves it.

Cathy / September 3, 2011 at 12:07 AM

Truthfully, my parents own a house near this establishment. Since the Henhouse started hosting music events, dances etc.... in our neigbourhood, my father who has prostate cancer and mother who is not only 80 years old but his primary caregiver hasn't had a good nights sleep. Frankly, I don't care for our hood turning into another Little Italy where the "hard working" people who built the roads you sing on in the middle of the night...can't sleep in the homes they sacrificed their lifetime to pay off...we are not all Educated and high wage earners or were ever blessed with the liberty to open a business and then piss in the faces of our neighbours...Not even the Brockton Hotel, which used to be across the street from where the Henhouse is now.... didn't had as noisy parties as you do...and their patrons were not cognitively blessed as you are....GROW UP !!!!!!!

Cathy / September 3, 2011 at 12:18 AM

By the way, I did call and complain directly to the Henhouse MONTHS don't give my no flack that I am just complaining to complain...I used to party until 6 a.m. at the Twightlight an industrial park....yah..where noise didn't matter or disturb anyone !!!!!! The following link should clarify all of you....what does and doesn't come with a liquor license.

påpå / November 6, 2011 at 11:17 AM

No Food at this place anymore? What gives?

yhtaC / September 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Cathy sucks.

Joe / December 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM

This place was way better when Katie & Jennie actually owned/ran it. Its pretty boring now and no food. (this write up should be edited)

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