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bars

Motel

Photo: Mauricio Calero

Posted by Jessica McGann / April 24, 2010

Motel bar on Queen may look like a dark mystery from the outside, but don't let the neon "Prescriptions" sign in the window confuse you, Motel is no more a pharmacy than it is a motor lodge. Instead it's a small, non-descript, no-frills drinking establishment stationed near Parkdale faves the Stones' Place, Rhino and the Cadillac Lounge.

Word on the street is that the name Motel is meant to mirror the "hotels" on the other side of the Dufferin tracks - the Gladstone and the Drake. And it's apt enough, I guess, with its similar, if pared-down, approach to design yet relatively tiny size.

Still new enough that you can find a place to sit after 11pm, this quiet little hole in the wall will soon start drawing its own traffic, if only for the $4 pints of U.S. hipster favourite, Pabst Blue Ribbon. The black tables and chairs seem perfectly practical for sitting at, but at least
two people whispered to me, "These are from IKEA," which tells you something either about the bar or the company I keep.

If it's not Pabst, it's Okanagan Springs Pale Ale. Draft options may be slight, but there's enough of all the standard liquors to mix up a wide selection of cocktails. Music is a nostalgic mix of '80s and '90s hits on an enticing, illuminated jukebox - the main source of light in the room - and whatever the DJ/bartender is spinning on the laptop. A few hefty antique paintings adorn the otherwise plain walls.

Although darkly-lit and intimately small, the bar's patrons seem to be predominantly made up of people for whom the '80s and '90s were a stark reality and not a babyhood memory to be revived with irony, but I have a feeling that will soon change as the kids continue to make their way west.

There's no food, no mixologists, no hipsters (yet) and no bullshit. Go in, sit down, have a Pabst and just relax already. Motel opens at 9pm every day.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Pabst Blue Ribbon, Okanagan Springs Pale Ale
Signature Drink:
PBR
Bar Snacks:
None
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Retro, Girl Talk-type remixes done for jokes, indie hits, jukebox
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Locals, Queen West creative types, soon: hipsters
Hours:
9pm-close daily


Other Cities: Montreal