Now that the West End is crawling with club district, Bay St. and the burbs on the weekends, it's only natural that the artists, aging hipsters and musicians have all begun to take over the outer layer of West Queen West . There has been much talk about the recent Ossington takeover, which is already attracting tourists off the strip, but the bridge that separates Parkdale from the weekenders has fended off even the most adventurous of the dress code set...for now.
One block in particular is currently enjoying a pleasant little renaissance. Just a couple of blocks past the Dufferin and Queen bridge is an old staple, Cadillac Lounge , across from Stones Place (made hip by monthly hip-pop party, Big Primpin') and down the street from Wrongbar, the best club to both dance your face off and hide out from the bottle service crowd in Toronto. And in between it all is Salvador Darling.
The history on this spot is that it used to be a vintage store then they opened a cafe in the back, and now, having recently procured a liquor license, it's a bar. Monday to Saturday they are open from 9AM to 5PM as a cafe but only open on the weekends (Thursday-Sunday) from 8PM onwards as a bar.
The feel of the space is exactly what you would think a vintage store meets cafe turned bar would be like: smallish with quirky decor. Drinks are decent ($4.25 domestic, $5.50 mixed rail), there is no cover charge, coat check or frills of any kind and the patrons are basically the Beaconsfield crowd when it first opened.
Frankly, it's a fantastic addition to the East Parkdale strip: a couple of greasy spoons, a dance club, and a lounge, cafe and vintage store (it's now gone online, ask at the shop for more details on their mailing list). Now all the block needs is a corner store that stays open late and maybe a pizza joint and that should alleviate any hipster bellyaching about how Queen West has gone to the dogs.
Writing by Frances Avalon