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The Yukon

Photo: Jesse Milns

Posted by Caroline Leung / April 23, 2012

The Yukon is a new bar in Parkdale that's appropriate for both post-work cocktail or outright shenanigans. It's a neighbourhood joint worthy of fleeing wherever it is you live now. I had been tired of this part of Queen Street and its perpetual edge. Nothing in particular makes the Yukon stand out - not in its cocktails, decor or music - but in the context of a city where mediocre eccentricity seems to prevail over the classic, it's exactly what I'm looking for.

The Yukon is not easily missed. It boasts a large window into the space, the silhouettes crowding the view. The sign for the bar is endearingly hand-painted onto the glass. Despite being barely a week old (previously Jasmine Cafe Bar), one can see from almost a block away that it's busy on this particular Saturday night.

In the tradition of most low-key hole-in-the-walls, The Yukon is long, narrow and unforgivably dark. A few warm bulbs illuminate just enough for you to spot a friend, or ogle a well-dressed stranger's outfit, or to admire the ceilings. High, carved meticulously and bronzed, it makes the place feel like a grandfather's library turned extremely tasteful watering hole.

The shelves behind the DJ, overflowing with records, add to the near-domestic intimacy of the atmosphere. There's enough space by the front and back to wallflower or converse, but that's about it. If you happen to be there on a quieter night with a big group, there are tables that can accommodate. The Yukon is small. Not to a fault, but close. This is an ideal venue for a first date; it lacks pretension without losing taste. It's pure class without the flash.

There's nothing amateur or unpolished about The Yukon, but something about it definitely recalls house party at a friend's fancy digs, rather than being at an actual establishment. It's that intimate. The DJ chooses his material whimsically; the music is nothing if not eclectic.

A group of girls lip sync perfectly to Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills Bills". Someone snaps their fingers in tune with The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go". The entire place answers when A Tribe Called Quest asks "Can I Kick It?" It's easy to close your eyes and imagine that there isn't a guy in the booth at all, but your very own iPod; that these people aren't strangers; that you're in a much less impressive but comfortable outfit.

There are many reasons to drink out; the adventure of places, people and sights unknown. But would it be so nonsensical to deem the familiarity revelatory? There isn't always gratification in what's new. What The Yukon has to offer will never get old.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
Guinness, Harp Lager, Beau’s Lug Tread Ale, Beau’s IPA
Signature Drink:
Working on it
Bar Snacks:
Full bar menu; just ask. Highlights include wings and freshly baked soft pretzels.
Patio:
Yes
Music/Genre:
Old school hip hop, rock, pop and soul; themed nights upcoming
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Mid-twenties and up; mainly West Queen West and Parkdale locals.
Hours:
Daily 5pm - 2am

Discussion

31 Comments

vern / April 23, 2012 at 1:05 PM
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Guinness and Harp? Come on! If I wanted boring mass marketed beer I might as well go to some Firkin chain. Looks like a nice place, but it'd need more craft beers on tap to get me in the door.

dan / April 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM
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what's as good as a pint of well poured Guinness I ask you???

AA / April 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM
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I went to The Yukon on opening night and we had a great time. 1,000+ records, alphabetized into custom shelves make up the back wall. Great tunes, and good food (house-made Pate & pickle stand out). Drinks are cold and reasonably priced.

@ Vern's comment above... if you don't like the beer selection, what don't you take your own advice and go to a Firkin Bar... leave room for us at The Yukon to enjoy ourselves.

See you again soon, Yukon!

Bart Starship / April 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM
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I would go to this spot. Great name. I would go just because I like the name dammit! Also, 'live music' wasn't featured in the blog but there will be live music, which for me, is the main reason I go out. I know it's small but so was CBGB's.
thanks.

me In replying to a comment from dan / April 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM
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Stone Hammer Dark Ale or Hockley Valley Dark, for instance. Guinness and Harp really are mediocre uses of the taps. There are much better options.

Rich / April 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM
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had a blast last sat night.. where you gonna hear misfits, run dmc, madness and chet atkins all within an hour!

kearneycation In replying to a comment from me / April 23, 2012 at 3:35 PM
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At least there's Beau's. Their IPA is delicious!

lol / April 23, 2012 at 3:46 PM
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so do they actually play vinyl or is it some tool on his laptop?

dan In replying to a comment from me / April 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM
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But neither compare to Guinness... sometimes things are successful for a reason. I guess it's down to a matter of taste... but comparing an ale to a stout seems odd, and perhaps uninformed.

Franco / April 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM
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People in Toronto can be so pretentious, especially when commenting on the limited craft beer options available, or insulting "tools" they don't even know. Just go and enjoy time with friends, that's what really matters. I think I might check this place out tonight. Thanks for recommendation.

Ringworks In replying to a comment from Franco / April 23, 2012 at 4:02 PM
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calling other people pretentious is pretentious

Franco In replying to a comment from Ringworks / April 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM
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Okay then.

me In replying to a comment from dan / April 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM
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Not misinformed, as I know exactly what Guiness Stout (& Stone Hammer & Hockley Valley ales) are.

You specifically asked "what's as good as a pint of well poured Guinness I ask you???" I answered your question. (I don't disagree that it's "down to a matter of taste").

Although not my preferred choices, if you'd prefer (or asked about) a stout, I would suggest a stout from, e.g, Mill Street or Black Creek.

FWIW, the place and people are great, despite a couple of mediocre tap options; it's certainly not pretentious to discuss personal preferences. As kearneycation said, they have a couple of tasty Beau's options, which is great!

me / April 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM
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Not misinformed, as I know exactly what Guiness Stout (& Stone Hammer & Hockley Valley ales) are.

You specifically asked "what's as good as a pint of well poured Guinness I ask you???" I answered your question. (I don't disagree that it's "down to a matter of taste").

Although not my preferred choices, if you'd prefer (or asked about) a stout, I would suggest a stout from, e.g, Mill Street or Black Creek.

FWIW, the place and people are great, despite a couple of mediocre tap options; it's certainly not pretentious to discuss personal preferences. As kearneycation said, they have a couple of tasty Beau's options, which is great!

john / April 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM
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really like this place but, yeah, it needs better beer choices to complete it... lots of good local beers available in toronto, no reason they can't get in on that..

it's a small nit to pick, but i hope they work on it. everything else is really nice.

vern / April 23, 2012 at 7:55 PM
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sorry guys. i just get worked up sometimes. i have a micropenis.

vern / April 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM
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seriously guys. come on. i have a very small wang.

phil / April 23, 2012 at 9:30 PM
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Would it be outrageous to suggest carrying some brews from the Yukon Brewing company? it seems obvious to me....

http://yukonbeer.com

ArcticKat / April 23, 2012 at 9:56 PM
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Can I get a free drink since I have actually been to the Yukon?

seanm In replying to a comment from me / April 23, 2012 at 10:25 PM
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Let the market decide what beers to put on tap. If Guinness performs poorly, and there's a clear demand for more craft options, the change will happen. Guinness isn't great, it's not terrible either. There are better options out there no doubt, though Black Creek's isn't great either (in fact it's downright watery and bland). Besides, it's got Beau's IPA which is enough to get me in the door (now queue the whining about IPAs and bitter beer).

Niilo / April 24, 2012 at 1:10 AM
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If you can’t find a beer you can enjoy in ANY of Toronto’s fine establishments, then I think the problem lies with you. Choosing a bar based on what they have on tap must be a sad way to live. Holy shit.

renee Crawford / April 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM
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Katy is simply the best person for the job! An amazing little place with a wonderful staff...delicious food options, great music, comfortable seating and far enough west on queen that those of us who live right in the thick of it (from queen and duff to queen and landsowne) can get just a little break from the recent crowds when necessary!

cindy / April 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM
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CBGB's? its like 10 times the size of the yukon, you downtown toronto moron. this is just another small bar with nice decor and filed in the "trendy" category. nothing to write home about, not good, not bad. its a like a smaller beaconsfield but its not next the the drake so the clientele is 10% less cheesy.

Hot Carl In replying to a comment from cindy / April 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM
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Meow! Look out the Internet police are here. Save your negativity for you local hangout.

Tanya W. In replying to a comment from cindy / April 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM
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Jeez. Someone makes something nice and it's "trendy" if if was another dive bar what would that be??
How does someone win? What's your ideal bar Cindy?
Maybe calm down a little and go easy on insulting other posters here.

Alexandra / April 24, 2012 at 2:45 PM
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Cute little bar in (west) Parkdale; very needed. All of the staff are very nice! Katy is the best!

John Yarema / April 24, 2012 at 7:44 PM
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Great bar, and there is nothing wrong with a well poured Guiness. Tastes great in a stew too!
Ask any Irishman!

Brent / April 26, 2012 at 4:12 PM
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Yes but do you have any Beatles albums???

CrowN In replying to a comment from vern / April 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM
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Name these "craft beers" that are better than Guinness or Harp? Keep in mind, they already have Bowes on tap.

Bill / May 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM
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Investing so much energy in discussing this is sad and pretentious. So many problems in the world and someone can't get the kind of beer they want on tap ... boooo hooo ... trendy, probably, but today's trendy is oh so 5 minutes ago and hase been for atleast an hour

Gia / May 26, 2012 at 10:49 PM
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Who is this girl?
Who is paying her?
Pay me.

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