Snakes and Lattes (College St.)
Snakes & Lattes has taken over the sprawling sub-level address that formerly housed the Andy Poolhall . It's a massive expansion for the board game cafe that still operates the original location on Bloor , but has outgrown (and shuttered) Snakes & Lagers across the street.
Anyone who's ever queued up for a table will be happy to learn that this new spot can easily seat up to 240 guests at custom built tables and benches. Owner Ben Castanie has refurbished a couple of pool tables, and assembled a library of games that numbers in the thousands. A retail space up front is soon to be installed.
Amalgamating the lattes and lagers concepts, the drinks menu boasts espresso based drinks and teas, along with a selection of beer and wine.
14 draught lines include craft beers like Side Launch Dark Lager and Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider. A 16oz pour sells for $6. Two taps are dedicated to wine, currently pouring a Creekside Cabernet merlot and an unoaked Chardonnay ($6 for a 5oz pour, $20 for a half litre).
A $5 cover is still in effect to borrow the board games, and the cheerful staff are happy to get you set up and explain how to play without ever reading an instruction sheet.
In its opening weeks, the menu from chef Joseph Shawana features an abbreviated list of snack foods, though there are plans to expand the offerings to include shareable platters, and even the potential for family style brunches.
We're not just talking junk food either - there's options like a salmon tartare ($14) over avocado purée. It's served with rosemary crostini and vegan caviar on the side -- one features the flavours of roasted red pepper, while another pops with wasabi.
Finger foods like pita crostini ($10) arrive already assembled for easy consumption without ever missing a turn. They're topped with an assortment of spreads including hummus, sautéed mushrooms, tomato and olive bruschetta, and roasted artichoke, which offers delightful variety but makes them hard to share.
Vegans are well looked after as well, there's pomegranate cold rolls ($11) packed with vermicelli noodles, kale, carrots, pomegranate seed and mint. A flavourful pickled ginger sauce is supplied for dipping, and even avid meat eaters like myself will concede that they're very tasty.
A final point of interest is that this place is all ages, so expect it to be populated with young people as well as adults who are still young at heart.
Photos by Jesse Milns