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Margret

Photo: Eugen Sakhnenko

Posted by Eugen Sakhenko / June 12, 2009

I must have walked by Margret dozens of times during the three years that I lived in the Junction, always wondering what the tiny, inconspicuous red neon lit sign that read Margret in the window actually meant. A couple years ago it was a seedy gambling/hooker den by the name of Common Ground, so it wasn't a stretch of the imagination that this was either an advertisement for, or at least a remnant of, a former employee.

Then last summer curiosity finally caused me to venture in and I was immediately mad at myself for not going sooner (although, Margret did only open about a year and a half ago). First of all, a bartender/DJ was sitting behind the turn tables spinning everything from Roy Orbison to Tone Loc, a black and white film was playing silently on the projection screen at the back wall, and the mismatched furniture straight from your parent's rec room was full of a solid representation of everyone that lived in the Junction - hipsters drinking tall cans of beer, grimy artists in the corner sectional, likely from the Academy of Realist Art next door, pants still covered in paint, and a table of women in their 40's and 50's with glasses of wine.

I've since moved from the Junction but thought it would be worth the trip back to see how things changed. It was nice to see that they hadn't. The decor was still the same - one wall, bare concrete minus what looks like a few vinyl bomber jets ironed on to it. The other wall a full on shrine to ever yard sale an 80-year-old couple has ever had. Think dog portraits, lots of them, painted on canvas, on black velvet and even crocheted into blankets. They're mixed in with a thorough assortment of pictures of Mack trucks, eagles' heads and of course your poor man's Group of Seven landscapes. And that's just the start.

One of the owners, Chris Brown, a 37-year-old music producer, prides himself on his yard-saling and value-villaging techniques, and is constantly adding to the kitsch wall. The effect is surprisingly pleasing in that "it looks cool because it's not trying too hard" sort of way.

If Brown and co-owner Jill Rooksby bought Margret with the goal to create a cool bar that had the vibe of your favourite perverted uncle who still lives at home in the basement but has a wicked vinyl collection (and I mean that in the best way possible) then they've succeeded.

Not to mention there are plans for a fully licensed patio, just as soon as the permit is granted, and while they don't serve proper food per se, Brown says they will be serving things like grilled cheese, olives, and "anything under $3." And if all that sounds like what you're looking for in an up and coming neighbourhood bar, then Brown's plans to take out the taps in order to make more room for more tall boys (there are already at least a half dozen to choose from) make it that much more perfect.

Writing by Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Mill Street lager
Signature Drink:
None
Bar Snacks:
Grilled cheese, olive bowls coming soon
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Various DJs spinning their vinyl collections from Wed to Sat.
Live Music:
No
Who Goes There:
Junction artists
Hours:
8pm-2am daily

Discussion

25 Comments

paul / June 13, 2009 at 1:40 PM
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Wow, looks really cool. The Junction seems to get more awesome all the time... pity it's kind of inconvenient to get to.

Zed / June 13, 2009 at 1:41 PM
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Sounds like a cool spot

Alexander / June 14, 2009 at 3:19 PM
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It's a good local option with a different feel most nights of the week. I never know what I'm getting into and that's one of the reasons I drop by.

Jesse / June 15, 2009 at 11:08 AM
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The Junction is "more awesome" every summer, especially with places like this and the Troubadour. But Paul is right - it's inconvenient to get there. Add in all the good restaurants though and it makes it a perfect neighbourhood to go for dinner and drinks, which is worth the shitty bus ride.

J-rock / June 17, 2009 at 12:19 PM
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I've never been there, and it's only about a 10 minute walk from my place. May have to change that very soon.

Adam Gorley / December 13, 2009 at 1:44 PM
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Visited this place for the first time last night. It's a great local spot with lots of potential.

And it's only inconvenient to get to if you call a subway and short bus ride inconvenient. Most people do that when they go downtown anyway.

Ethan / January 2, 2010 at 12:51 PM
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I heard this place has ping-pong, is that true?

Holly / February 22, 2010 at 7:31 PM
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I've heard nothing but good things about this place - but can someone clear up whether the first Friday of every month is one for the ladies who love ladies?
Thanks!

river / April 1, 2010 at 8:51 PM
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sounds like there's a queer night every first Friday.

Janine / July 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM
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Is this place still open? I also walk by this all the time and never even noticed it (also instantly mad at myself). Google maps street view doesn't do this place any justice... not seeing a sign up at all?

Janine / July 5, 2010 at 3:32 PM
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Hmm... their phone number is "not assigned" which I'm guessing means Margaret is no-more? Boo.

EL / July 29, 2010 at 9:18 PM
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I love this place. A wonderful addition to the junction.

James / September 4, 2010 at 2:31 AM
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The owner is the biggest DOUCHE ever.

Vanita / September 4, 2010 at 2:34 AM
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There are have been some really shady people at this bar lately. I came here last summer and it was a riot. But now I would never recommend coming here. I am not sure if it the staff or the clientele but it has been getting emptier and emptier and the music is shit.

Robin / September 5, 2010 at 5:40 PM
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Terrible music and rude staff

Ms Shell In replying to a comment from Holly / October 22, 2010 at 5:43 PM
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@holly

Having gone there with a date (a male date) on the first friday of the month I can definitely say that it's full on lesbionic that night. It was great, the vibe was fun and the music was just amazing and not ten minutes into us getting there the entire place was on the dance floor. It was my first time going to this bar and let me tell you it won't be the last!

And seriously, the Junction isn't that hard to get to- but if you don't want to, I'm ok with keeping it to all the cool kids who will!

baz In replying to a comment from James / January 14, 2011 at 9:42 AM
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Why is the owner a 'douche'? What did he/she do to you?

Margret owner In replying to a comment from James / April 6, 2011 at 11:53 AM
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I am the owner, and youre right James, I am the biggest Douche. It feels good when the little people notice...

Lana / May 31, 2011 at 3:47 PM
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Is there a patio yet?

joebloe / August 17, 2011 at 2:41 AM
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Cool place man... Women with hairy legs bro@

Margeaux / June 19, 2012 at 12:43 PM
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I love Margret! It's so much fun and the staff are very polite/friendly. Hyphy atmosphere even when it's not busy... The music is always good and the bar itself is set up well with lots of seating and a dance floor. No patio but there are chairs set up outside the door if you want to sit down while you smoke. I always have fun when I go to Margret.

vv / February 16, 2013 at 7:03 PM
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Not sure what a "hyphy atmostphere" is but I definitely know it's not something I want to be in.

In any case Margret sucked when I went there. THere was literally nowhere to sit as apparently the owner thought it would be cool to remove all the furniture so people could dance... even though it was completely empty.

Kind of awkward when you want to sit at the bar. Beer fridge was empty except for like three bottles.. of which was a pretty good selection at least. Anyway, would be cool if this place still looked like the photos above, but it was pretty sad. I'll be going to other locals in the junction.

Skank / March 26, 2013 at 12:29 PM
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How is this place still in business? It's always empty...

john / April 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM
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Skank, show up at midnight.. its completely full on the weekends.. too full actually for my liking, but full.

raspberry ketones / August 22, 2013 at 2:10 PM
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Jason Bateman’s character Nick, who works for a cruel
tyrant of the boss played by Kevin Spacey.

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