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Locus 144

Photo: Chris Robinson

Posted by Stephen M. Baldwin / August 19, 2010

Locus 144 is a new Liberty Village bar that opened a few weeks ago near the walkway behind Brazen Head in the Liberty Market Building.

Co-owner Cassius Williams, The protégé of a SIR Corp. (Jack Astor's, Alice Fazooli's, Reds, Far Niente) executive, is well-acquainted with nightlife economics. "We studied the area, and understood that it houses a lot of wealthy professionals," he says, "but there were no classy, sexy lounges in the area, and we felt that it needed one."

When he mentions class and sex appeal my head darts immediately to the red Ferrari out front, and I realize that Liberty Village is morphing away from its industrial and dotcom roots. Locus 144 has a very King West, resto-bar style, but it has high ceilings and lots of open space. The style seems like the fairly predictable modern-rustic dichotomy, but pay closer attention and you recognize the detail.

The tables are made of large, old slabs of barge wood with wagon wheels nailed onto the sides and a pane of glass on top. The space is lit by candlelight at each table and unique chandeliers. Each side is lined with comfortable white leather - the type used for snowmobiles: water and stain resistant. The bar has the common urban apothecary feel. The patio is basically just a table out front, but it's got a decent enough view, and is peaceful on weeknights.

Though the cocktail menu is still a work in progress, there's a decent variety of beer and wine. Beers on tap are Mill Street Organic, Sleeman, Kronenberg and Guiness ($7 +tax for a pint). Glasses of red and white wine are priced between nine and 12 dollars, with bottles climbing up as far as $118 (Amarone-grotto del ninfeo).

This is definitely more of a bar/lounge than a restaurant but the kitchen does have a few offerings that are meant to snack on or share among friends. The food is Italian, tasty, and I'm told by a waitress that all of their ingredients are locally grown, organic and mixed in-house. The suppli (risotto croquettes stuffed with mozzarella) has great texture and tastes delicious with the spicy tomato sugo.

There are other finger foods like crostini and calamari, but also a variety of salads and meat entrées like beef tenderloin and lamb skewers. Cannolis and gelato are the highlights from the dessert menu.

The crowd so far seems to be fairly mixed, but it's obvious that the locals dominate. "I'm looking for anyone aged 25 to 60 who wants to enjoy themselves," Williams says, "As long as they respect the space, I welcome everyone. I hope each person finds something different in this place."

Locus 144's recently-launched weekly tradition is Wednesday night's Project Sound performances. Project Sound is an entertainment group that promotes talented local artists, and their first night at Locus was a huge success.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Mill Street Organic, Sleeman, Guiness, Kronenberg
Signature Drink:
Bar Snacks:
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
25-35, young professionals (local)



Ash / August 19, 2010 at 10:50 AM

This place *screams* douchebaggery. A Ferrari out front? Get out of my neighborhood.

frank grimes / August 19, 2010 at 10:57 AM

@ guy • hahahaha the flyer is ridiculous

Simuls / August 19, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Why on earth would I pay $8 for a pint of Sleemans when I can walk 6 minutes to Queen West and pay $11.30 for a pitcher (3 pints). While I've no doubt that this should do well, what Liberty Village needs is a real bar. Not Irish ripoffs and King West castoffs.

Matt / August 19, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Hey, that's my Ferrari! And I just blew through a red light and ran over your grandmother to get here for opening night.

Seriously, I don't understand these places that charge that much for a pint of beer. It's insane price-gouging. You can find those same beers priced between 5 - 6.50, tax inclusive, at most places. Why would someone pay close to 8 dollars? Even if you're loaded, why allow yourself to be ripped off?

Eh. I guess people can pay whatever they want.

Jo / August 19, 2010 at 1:16 PM

What kind of phoney plastic injection molded metallic trimmed artifice is this latest 'locale' trying to make pretenses to being now ?

I remember when the old Munitions Factory on Hanna was the place to go for impromptu jams, speakeasy's and even indoor bike racing with the local couriers...

Now 'Locus' is what passes for local Culture on Hanna?

Yuck...Drinking in a cold fishbowl to support the bottom line of the Liberty District Property Managers...No thanks


Gabe / August 19, 2010 at 1:17 PM

No the future of Liberty Village isn't dependent on one place opening up that may or may not be successful.

Metro, LCBO, Brazen Head are all the future of Liberty Vill

creal / August 19, 2010 at 1:20 PM

$8 pints keep the starving artists/students and other bums out. People with jobs don't like hanging around people who cry over an extra $1-2 per pint.

bubba / August 19, 2010 at 1:32 PM

there is a reason why the place is empty, if it was such a great place it would be packed with people.

ben In replying to a comment from creal / August 19, 2010 at 2:17 PM

creal in his duche palace!

Matt In replying to a comment from creal / August 19, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Wow, could your class-based distaste for the less well-off be any more crass? (You're right though, I don't have a job. That's how I can't afford this apartment I'm not sitting in while not writing this on the computer I don't own.)

Steve / August 19, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Super-cheap looking wanna-be place with ten year old design style. In the real world (i.e. not a staged photo-op) cars are parked in the parking lot, not directly out front (you'd get towed or asked to move). And a Ferrari? Please. Rented for the shot and/or to show "hey, fancy people come here!" Been done, never works.

Matt / August 19, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Even though i agree with the idea that this place is a total rip-off and a douche-magnet, Creal is right. That's probably the exact reason for the pricing of the beer. People who hang out there don't want to hang out with people who bitch about the price of beer. They're paying not only for the beer, but for the atmosphere. The patrons stay in, the riff-raff stays out.

Jeff In replying to a comment from creal / August 19, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Thats right Creal - you tell em. People with jobs rule. They'll buy all sorts of $8 pints as long as the bums are not around. Get away bums, get away artists and your $6 beers... This is our bar, the job people bar.

Khaleed / August 19, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Unlike most of you who have commented without even entering the space, i wandered in last night to a packed house, with a diverse crowd, great live music (Project Sound), and a relatively delicious, simple menu.

Yes, price discriminates, but i don't intend on spending my every waking moment in there either.

Variety is what keeps things interesting.

dean footstink / August 20, 2010 at 12:30 AM

It's so cool but weird that one of the Baldwin brothers writes club reviews for us!

daria / August 20, 2010 at 7:20 AM

i don't understend ether- haw much it might coust ?my shoes are not comfertble,they so press me so i went to walk in clinick they did blood work -all clear.

LJ In replying to a comment from Khaleed / August 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM

well said Khaleed, and daria, back to ESL skool you go!

Tm / August 23, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Daria, where are you from. Khaleed, very well said.

Cam / August 23, 2010 at 5:57 PM

I agree that the prices aren't the cheapest, however, they are on par with many places on King, Queen, Ossington and Dundas. You can always find cheaper but you really should give the place a chance. The owners are great guys and the atmosphere warm and welcoming. Don't judge until you have given it a try.

wrap / September 18, 2010 at 10:27 PM

the owners r great guys and the place has no attitude for the prices if u think it's expencive dont go.

k / October 18, 2010 at 11:28 AM

I'd bet most of you haven't even strolled into this bar. Contrary to what many people are saying here, this little location is full of great people, great music and boasts a seriously awesome vibe (especially on Wednesday nights when Project Sound is playing).

I've been twice now and I'd most certainly go back (and PLAN to!). Cassius and the rest of the crew here are beyond awesome and the prices are just fine. Perhaps I'm used to the Bay Street locations where a simple beer runs you $9 plus tip....not sure. But Locus is definitely reasonably priced.

Worth the visit, IMO.

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