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Painted Lady

Photo: Eugen Sakhnenko

Posted by Eugen Sakhenko / June 15, 2009

The Painted Lady has been my favourite bar on the Ossington strip this year, which all started when I ended up there on Easter Sunday only to hear a DJ spinning the very best of '90s hip-hop. At first it seemed odd that a bar looking like it was uprooted right from pre-Katrina New Orleans would have a hip-hop night, but when you take in account that a) on any given night the music here varies from Hendrix to Springsteen to Arrested Development, and b) owners Nicky Potter and Sam Papatragiannis are actually themselves uprooted from New Orleans via South Africa and Scarborough, respectively, then the combination makes sense.

The idea for a bar actually came from living in New Orleans, when they wanted to open a place where all the hookers could mingle with regular folk (outside of the brothel I guess). It seemed the next best thing was a bar across from a former strip club on Ossington, and naming it after the infamous "painted ladies" of New Orleans. Not to mention the practicality of it, as both Potter and Papatragiannis live above it and simply wanted a bar they would love to go to.

From its dark-finished wood, beautifully ornate bar stocked with liquor from classy (nice scotch and tequila) to crazy (plans to get absinthe - the real stuff you can't get at the LCBO - are in the works for the coming months) and the wall of around 50 or so paintings and photographs of various women, they've created a space that is as welcoming as your local dive bar, but impressive enough to bring a first date. Be sure to get there early though for a coveted spot on the small front patio or the open air sofa, as it fills up around dinner time.

Speaking of food, the menu is more than your typical bar as well, with everything homemade and, for the budget-minded, nothing over $10. There's the pulled-pork with original bbq sauce, the skewered Korean kabobs or the white trash nachos (Fritos, homemade chilli and Cheez Whiz, which looks a lot better than it sounds) to highlight just a few.

The 12 taps offer a good assortment of Canadian microbrews like Mill Street, as well as some staples and obscure euro imports, like the wheat ale Weihenstephan, to round it out. They've even had a mixologist (AKA fancy bartender) design an assortment of signature drinks (2 oz for $12.50), the most interesting being the Painted Pink Lady, with gin, brandy, lemon juice and an egg froth on top. Regular cocktails are $8.50.

With plans for a backyard patio, as well as new summer hours to cater to the weekend brunch crowd, the Painted Lady is definite must-stop venue on any Dundas West/Ossington bar crawl.

Writing by Jesse Kinos-Goodin

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Mill Street, Creemore plus 10 more
Signature Drink:
The Painted Pink Lady
Bar Snacks:
White trash nachos, pulled pork
Various local djs spinning a huge array of music; Sunday is vinyl preservation night; Wednesday is acoustic night.
Live Music:
Who Goes There:
Ossington bar-goers tired of Baby Huey's
5pm – 2am daily



me / June 17, 2009 at 11:27 AM

the best part about this place is that so far it seems to have escaped the douchey vibe that some of the other places on ossington have recently acquired. not to mention the bartenders and staff and all SUPER nice and friendly - and they make a mean pulled pork sandwich for a place without a kitchen!

Tim In replying to a comment from me / June 18, 2009 at 6:44 PM

I agree. Because it's new it's not as high up on the radar for those not too familiar with the area

Sarah / July 14, 2009 at 6:59 AM

I love the bar in this place! Gorgeous wood work! Anyone know the designer? IT just invites you to sit at the bar....

mr / April 12, 2010 at 4:40 PM

have to say I really am not a fan of this bar. I find the drinks (esp. wine) to be over priced. With all the other amazing bars in the area I will not be returning to this place

The Painted Lady / December 11, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Dear mr,

Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. However, a fact is a fact; Our drinks are very reasonably priced. You've either never ordered a drink at The Painted Lady, or perhaps you haven't set foot in any other Toronto bars to get a sense of what the going rate is for wine, beer, whiskey etc... When you do compare our pricing to that of other Toronto establishments, you'll find that your comment on this topic is unfounded.

As well, the team here at The Lady works very hard every day to ensure kind, attentive, friendly service. We love what we do, and we really care about each and every person that walks through our doors.

The Painted Lady

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