balzacs toronto

10 bars and cafes in Toronto named for books or authors

Literary references are a common theme when christening bars and cafes in Toronto. While this collection of establishments couldn't be more diverse, the all share a common love of books.

Here are 10 bars and cafes in Toronto named for books or authors.

Balzac's
How fitting that one branch of this cafe inhabits a space in the Toronto Reference Library. Bibliophiles and coffee lovers alike can share their love for this coffee roaster named for the 19th century French author, Honoré de Balzac, who was so obsessed with coffee that he wrote a dissertation called The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee.

No One Writes To The Colonel
This relaxed rec room-like bar on College Street takes its name from the legendary Latvian club "Pulkvedim neviens neraksta" - fans of the novella written by Columbian author and Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez.

Hemingway's
The iconic Yorkville bar and restaurant takes its name from the famed novelist who briefly called Hogtown home as a young man. Ironically, he hated it here, and his contempt for 1920's Toronto seems a driving force in his permanent move to Paris.

Ezra's Pound
The cafe and roastery on Dupont plays on the name of Hemingway's mentor, American poet Ezra Pound (the two met by chance at book shop in 1922). In a way, Ezra's Pound continues to foster creativity... or at least that's how I feel about coffee in general.

Belljar Cafe
Inspired by the Sylvia Plath novel and also the name of owner Geoff McPeek's former band, this Dundas West coffee house and bar is a hub for creative types who wax poetic over coffees and cocktails.

Wind-Up Bird Cafe
Named for the popular work of fiction by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, this College Street restaurant draws diners in to enjoy a wellspring of dreamy dishes and the occasional literary event.

Hitch
Named after Christopher Hitchens (a.k.a Hitch), this Leslieville bar cites the serious drinker as an inspirational figure and deals in classic cocktails in a dim candlelight room.

Double Double Land
The DIY venue in Kensington Market takes its name from a play produced by Life of a Craphead, the performance art group who operate the space. In the play, Double Double Land is a "shitty place," and the gist of the plot is that sometimes things get a lot worse before they get better. And they do.

Red Fish Blue Fish Creative Cafe
The Dr. Seuss title lends itself well to this two-storey cafe that caters to mommy and me crowds. Here, the creative workspace and snack bar offers kid friendly programming and a sunny spot to sit on a massive patio.

Owl of Minerva
This chain of Korean restaurants is named for the Roman goddess of wisdom. Marquee locations offer ultra-late (sometimes 24 hour) service, making The Owl a wise choice when craving kimchi and spicy rice cakes after midnight.

What did I miss? Add more places in the comments. Photo of Balzac's.


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