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Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Martha Stortz / February 7, 2013

Hitch is now open near Queen and Leslie. I visited the bar on a quiet Monday evening. Because the bar is so new, I couldn't find any information about it online (other than the address) so I had no idea what to expect. As I entered the bar, I hypothesized the possible source of the name: Is it a reference to a new trend of incorporating camping into the bars of Leslieville? The namesake of that movie starring Willow Smith's dad? An acronym for Hipters In Toronto Come Here?

The bartender informed me that the bar is actually named after Christopher Hitchens (commonly known as Hitch). Using Hitch as an inspirational figure for a bar makes sense as Hitch was known to be a heavy drinker, a much more intuitive choice than the Mr.Rogers themed club in Parkdale.

Hitch's drinking habits are reflected in the exceedingly strong cocktails. I ordered a Bourbon Sour ($11), recommended by the bartender. I'm usually not a big fan of hard liquor from the whiskey family - it reminds me of the time when I was 17 and put Baby Orajel on my tongue so I could drink rye without tasting it. However, this drink was delicious - the spices juxtaposed with the sour were the perfect drink on such a cold night. Garnishing the two-shot drink with sour cranberries instead of the traditional maraschino cherries was a welcome touch.

The bar, founded by the owner of the nearby Mercury Espresso, also has a small menu of snacks and appetizers ranging from $6-10. We ordered the hummus and chips ($6), the chorizo, manchego and bread ($10), the rustic country pate ($9), and the tuna conserva ($10). Of the appetizers, the rustic country pate was my favourite. The pate was amazing and really tied in the Hitch theme: the pork was representative of Hitchens' anti-Zionist beliefs while the use of lamb was a throwback to his public criticism of Mother Teresa.

The smokiness was a reference to his ever-present Rothmans and the heavy onion really spoke to the layers of Hitchens' ideology, from socialist to capitalism to Marxist. The hummus and chorizo plate were also very enjoyable and the tuna earned rave reviews though I did not partake as I am not a fish fan (too much experimentation in college).

Food and drink aside, one of the best things about Hitch is the atmosphere. The bar, decorated with animal busts and mason jar lights, is a Pinterester's wet dream. The cozy space has one long table as well as several smaller tables and rather than the usual mounted TV, Hitch has installed a projector opposite the largest wall. The bartender mentioned they plan to show documentaries and TED Talks at the bar.

For an establishment where every cocktail contains a double shot, it's well-lit and the music is low, making it a good venue for a casual meeting or breaking up with someone.

Overall, Hitch is a great place to go for a stiff drink, delicious snacks, and good conversation. This bar truly embodies the idea of a salon. (The use of the word 'salon' in public is the first ever application of my liberal arts education. Take that, everyone who said Library Science was a waste!) I will definitely return to Hitch in the near future- but for the sake of the pate, leave the Baby Orajel at home.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Mill St Stock Ale, Beau’s Lug Tread, Duggan’s No. 9 IPA.
Signature Drink:
The Hitch (whiskey, soda, lemon)
Bar Snacks:
Background beats.
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Anyone who loves whiskey but hates Mother Teresa, anyone who has ever wondered what Andre Leon Talley is talking about when he references his ‘salon’ in America’s Next Top Model.
5-12 Sunday to Wednesday, 5-2 Thursday to Saturday.



Bob / February 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Fat guy with a beard, Expos cap and a plaid shirt...really? Is his Canada Goose jacket hanging up out back?

bosephus / February 7, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Hitch looks great! I can’t wait to check it out.

robb / February 7, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Don't forget the coffee machine - serving up the same great beans that have made Mercury such a success! There are so few places in the neighbourhood that have great cocktails and great coffee available - something for everyone.

Nattysins / February 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM

LOVE THIS BAR! I had the smoked trout rillettes and marinated olives with a pint of Duggans No 9 and couldn't have been happier. Snacks are delicious and the drinks make me like liquor again!

guy In replying to a comment from Bob / February 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

No doubt it's hanging right next to your troll cap.

Mike / February 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

So many bars & restaurants in Leslieville, so little time...not that I'm complaining. Looks worth checking out.

neilson / February 7, 2013 at 1:34 PM

look at the chap on the computer/pos/whatever. he looks like he's about to bottle the bearded chuckler. trouble in paradise?

KP / February 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Hey Mike

Harry / February 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Any bar named after the legendary Hitchens is worthy of a visit!

Martha / February 7, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Alternative title: I got 99 problems but a Hitch ain't one.

zizek6969 / February 7, 2013 at 6:37 PM

DO THEY HAVE FOUR SQUARE and also crafT brew

Kentucky / February 7, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Why do all the great Bourbons start with the letter B? Bookers, Bakers, Blanton's, Bullet, Basil Hayden's...just askin'.

scribbions / February 7, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Mercury espresso at Hitch? It would be nice to have a cup of their coffee without having to listen to the barista's choice of punk rock so loud you cant talk to the person beside you.

Digiree Don't / February 8, 2013 at 4:45 AM

Hey Bob...get a life.

Tippi Hedren In replying to a comment from Bob / February 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

It's true . . . I'm sure Hitchens would totally dig the conformity. I wonder if it's a real goose or a knock-off honker.

mayor dodge In replying to a comment from Tippi Hedren / February 8, 2013 at 1:09 PM

And, that plaid shirt makes chuckle-boy look fat in the head. He sure looks a lot like the rube that served us warm beer in a little burg North of Barrie a couple of summers ago.

Joel / February 8, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Hitch says this about drinking in his memoir: "At about half past midday, a decent slug of Mr. Walker's amber restorative, cut with Perrier water (an ideal delivery system) and no ice. At luncheon, perhaps half a bottle of red wine: not always more but never less. Then back to the desk, and ready to repeat the treatment at the evening meal. No "after dinner drinks"—​most especially nothing sweet and never, ever any brandy. "Nightcaps" depend on how well the day went, but always the mixture as before. No mixing: no messing around with a gin here and a vodka there."

And they named a mixed cocktail after him...

Maureen In replying to a comment from guy / February 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

No, the plaid fat dude is wearing it. Lousy fit, too. I bet he's hiding something in it.

Bill / February 8, 2013 at 3:13 PM

The bar looks great. Too bad it's named after a simpleton of a pseudo intellectual lightweight who valued his own ego and the never-ending lust for celebrity above ALL else. Should have named it Mordecai or Deano if you were looking for a big drinker. They were both a hell of a lot smarter than that twit.

mayor dodge In replying to a comment from Bill / February 8, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Thanks, Bill; that explains why they have chuckle-boy acting like the master of ceremonies there.

Melanie In replying to a comment from Martha / February 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

You are hilarious, can my girls tag along with your girls next time?

Gman / February 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

So did the snow fly up everyone's crack today? What's with the hate for some dude having a laugh?

Sarah / February 9, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Wow, what's with all the hate against the bartender? He looks like he is having a good time... definitely better than the moody cranky guys downtown. And he's not really fat? You people confuse me.

It looks like a nice space, I'll definitely check it out!

Jason / February 10, 2013 at 8:47 PM

The bartender in the photo happens to be one of the nicest people I know, and twice the person you zeroes are who are taking potshots at him from behind your computers. Grow up.

Jason In replying to a comment from Bill / February 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM


Dan / February 10, 2013 at 9:07 PM

I'm sure Hitch is just fine as bars go, but this review is a smouldering pile of crap. I get that blogto writers work pro bono, but this is embarrassing for everyone.

Belinda In replying to a comment from Jason / February 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Take a quick read of neilson's post. Why is no one else in the photo smiling, let alone joining the chuckler? He must be dissing somebody. I wonder if he got to wear his hat home.

Bill In replying to a comment from Jason / February 11, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Who are you, Hitchens' son/daughter or something? It's just my opinion, pal. And "Troll"? Even the troll-like Hitchens himself could come up with a better zinger than that. BTW, I think the Expos hat guy seems like a good bloke.

tom / February 13, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Bill, intellectual lightweight?
Some of his early proffs said he was one of the brightest students they ever had. sure he liked himself, but who cares.
you listen to some of this debates/lectures, he knew sooo much about so many things. his command of history is great.

Bill / February 14, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Sorry, Tom. It's my opinion that Hitchens was an overrated, self-important narcissistic (to the point of personality disorder) gasbag who liked to pick easy fights. And I could care less that some old prof. thought he was cute.

Rico / February 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

It seems the religious assholes have no children to diddle these days, so they're in here ditching Hitchens. And yes, the guy in the hat is a nice guy. Perhaps those that crapped their pants in these comments might stop by and learn what it's like to be secure.

Bill / February 15, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Rico, Has anyone mentioned Hitchens' views on religion here? But your idiotic point is taken. Hitchens' strong suits, beyond atheism, are likely right up your alley too. Like misogyny, vehement support of the invasion of Iraq, the glorification of rampant alcoholism, and Bush supporting. Lets all raise a glass. He was an awesome guy. Cheers.

Chris Sadler / February 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I will be hear. Love Hitch

Scott / February 19, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Was at Hitch Saturday night. Really nice bar, and the cocktails are awesome - lost count of the number of "dark and stormy"s I had. Paid for it Sunday but was worth it. Will definitely return.

paulthefeeder / February 27, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Went to Hitch last night. Really beautiful space. Great bar. Great music. Great service.

emily / March 10, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Went to Hitch tonight. Great atmosphere - unpretentious service, tasty snacks and pints. Highly recommend!

James / March 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Bill, I don't think you have to agree with all of Hitch's conclusions to admire him as an intellectual who stood up for what he believed in.
Hitch will always be a role-model to me. He definitely had flaws, and maybe he could have worked on them harder, but his life has made mine better. I hope you give him a second chance one day.
Anyways, I really look forward to checking out this pub.

Mark / March 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Hey, even atheists need someone and somewhere to worship...

Rico In replying to a comment from Bill / March 31, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Nobody cares, Bill, about your pathetic silly little opinion. But you are right in the sense that the religious are an easy target. What you miss is that he had fun babbling on and on about religious people and their pathetic silly little beliefs. You know, logic and all that scientificky stuff.

Watch out, I'm a vampire.

Sunny / April 5, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Hitch was great. Friendly service, casual vibe, nice digs. Drinks were strong and nice tall pours. Probably the biggest Manhattan I've ever had. We had the chorizo, bread and manchego. I'd be curious to try the other snacks. Nothing to rave about but it was good. I liked that annoying couples would walk in and then leave after finding out what it was. It was all just single dudes and a few ladies sittin' around shooting the shit. Will return. And the best thing, it's right across from the Duke so karaoke after.

Leslieville Local / April 20, 2013 at 9:07 AM

I've been here several times. Drinks are good, good selection of beer and it's served cold. The service is also cold. Bartenders/owner is less than friendly. Stick to making coffee! Won't be back.

Kumutha / June 3, 2013 at 1:18 AM

Thanks for shriang. What a pleasure to read!

Donovan / July 2, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Wtf did you mean by "Apologizing since 1867" >no question mark required....because what ever your intent...this can and is being percieved by those who are Native Canadian as insulting and hate mongoring towards Indegenous peoples...considering the date, proposed bill C31 by Harper's conservatives(which is a slap in the face to those he "apologized" to for the residential school tragedies please explain what it was exactly that you meant with your side walk sign really curious

Rachel / December 30, 2013 at 8:27 PM

"Chuckles" is indeed a happy guy. He's the friendliest most relaxed man I've ever met. I'm pretty sure he's smiling in the first photo because it's awkward when a photographer is in the room trying to snap photos of people looking natural. The customers simply don't want to be photographed and 'chuckles' is trying to save face.
The expo hat was his souvenir from out trip to Montreal together. And his beard is there because it is the most awesome beard!
It's silly that some folks will rip on a guy they have never met. A guy that isn't even mentioned in the interview.
This is a review of bar folks. Either go try the bar or don't.
Mike, or 'chuckles' as you call him, is strong enough to shrug your comments off. That's the type of thing that makes him awesome. And that's the reason he is my husband.

Stacey Denis / March 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Great little bar. Nice atmosphere and drinks. If you're looking for a quieter/more relaxed setting, it is a nice change from Ceili's!

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