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Restaurants

Boots 'N' Bourbon Saloon

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on December 13, 2013 / review policy

boots bourbon saloonBoots 'N' Bourbon Saloon is leading the charge of Toronto's new-found enthusiasm for country music and cowboy cuisine. It's one of two western bars to open serendipitously on the same day, and already it shows promise of becoming a major party destination and live country music venue.

Matt Dean Pettit of Rock Lobster, along with partners Matt Coulter, Mike Homewood (Kee to Bala) and Nav Sangha (Wrongbar, The Great Hall) cite four simple components at the heart of the concept: music, food, cocktails and a great room.

boots bourbon saloon torontoThe loud, 80-seat interior channels Nashville; there's hay trekked in across the floors, kitschy vintage signs, Sante Fe-like cattle skulls and an old-timey mural courtesy of Pettit's artistic dad. Upfront a horseshoe bar offers action on all sides, a digital jukebox/photobooth and cowboy pinball add to the fun vibe. Moseying on to back, there's a mix of high tables, tufted leather booths, cowhide-covered Eames chairs (in case you forget you're still in the city) and a Deer Hunter arcade game.

boots bourbon saloonAt the back of the deep space there's a stage for live music and a dance floor for Thursday-night line dancing, otherwise home to the inflatable mechanical bull.

boots bourbon saloonThe one page menu offers country-style pub grub like snackable bites of Fried Beer Cheese ($8), Bacon Bombs ($8) and Fried Pickles ($7). I try the deliciously fried Buffalo Shrimp in a Can ($13) studded with chunks of blue cheese and served with Cajun fries, veggie sticks and tangy blue cheese dip on the side.

bootsnbourbonsaloonMany of the small plates are sharable but could also double as decent sized single servings. For a hearty home-style option, there's Chilli of The 2nd Day ($9) served in a garlicky hollowed-out bread bowl crowned with melted cheddar and chives.

Groups can take advantage of shareable buckets of Fried Chicken ($16/4 piece, $30/8 pieces) or the Redneck Beer Can Chicken ($40) served with a spread of sides. Big appetites can opt for customizable Po Boys ($13) topped with a choice of fried catfish, spicy lobster, fried chicken or shrimp spiced with Cajun, Jerk, or Buffalo.

boots bourbon saloonUnder the pretence of lighter fare, there's The Old School Taco Salad ($13), layered in a deep fried tortilla bowl with shredded lettuce, ground beef, beans, cheese, spicy mayo, diced tomatoes, cucumbers and crispy fried onions. It's only a couple ingredients away from being a seven layer dip, so well... it's not health food, but it's delicious.

bootsnbourbonsaloonThe bar program doesn't take itself too seriously. Cocktails like the tangy gin-fortified Red Flip Cup Punch ($10) are served (as the name suggests) in plastic party cups; The Stampeder ($12) is served in a boot-shaped glass filled with Molson Stock Ale, ginger ale, maple bitters, molasses and a final shot of Crown Royal dropped in right before drinking. Draught beers are evenly priced at $7 a pint but a quick survey of the room suggests that shots of bourbon and Coors Banquet tall cans ($6.25) and are the libations of choice.

bootsnbourbonsaloonBoots 'N' Bourbon Saloon opens for dinner Monday through Wednesday at 5pm. Lunch is served from noon on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. On Sundays there is a country brunch buffet with live music starting at 11am.

Photos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

39 Comments

Jason Paris / December 13, 2013 at 02:48 pm
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My only complaint... We were there on a Sunday night and it was fun, but quiet crowd talking at various different tables. Yet the music was absolutely blasting to the point you couldn't hear anyone even next to you. We asked the manager to turn it down, but were refused.
Jar-jar Mason / December 13, 2013 at 02:59 pm
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Noise like that is punishment to be sure, but how was the quiet crowd talking if the cow opera din was blasting? They must be putting something in the goofy beer boots. My friends in Calgary would be LTAO.
Chris! / December 13, 2013 at 03:13 pm
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Looks like a lame approximation of what might be a cool bar. Ah, that's why.
Chris! / December 13, 2013 at 03:13 pm
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Looks like a lame approximation of what might be a cool bar. (checks map) Ah, that's why.
timely / December 13, 2013 at 03:18 pm
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Amazing!

So much fun. Bout damn time we had a country bar in town.
anthony replying to a comment from Chris! / December 13, 2013 at 03:23 pm
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You mean,(checks "Cool for Dummy's" book)
kat replying to a comment from Chris! / December 13, 2013 at 04:42 pm
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Unless you've been living under a rock, you would know that the east end is becoming more popular and a lot of west end establishments are making their way over here. Ex. The County General, also 2/3 of the owners are from west end places.
nb / December 13, 2013 at 06:31 pm
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Cowboy bar with eames chairs? Really Toronto?
Nock4Six / December 13, 2013 at 07:36 pm
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It's ok Chris. We don't want your shitty west end attitude over here anyway.
Kadarski / December 14, 2013 at 05:32 pm
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People claiming the music is too loud at a bar called Boots N' Bourbon, don't be so Torontonian
JohnnY / December 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm
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Whats with the food in the can? Some places can have the music too loud, if you're like the only one or ones in the place and the music is cranked.
Jeff / December 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm
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Do they have bourdon inspired food? Bourbon wings? Bourbon steaks? Bourbon strips? Anything?
Shambo / December 16, 2013 at 09:51 am
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Checked it out on Saturday with friends and had a great time! Low key, food is good, drinks are fun and $3 shots of bourbon! My only complaint is that they wouldn't make mixed drinks after 12:30....I had been drinking the Flip Cup Punch all night and then all of a sudden they weren't making them anymore? Nor any of the other mixed bevvies on the menu?? I don't drink beer so I found that to be a bit of a let down. That said I'm happy to see a place like this in our hood and will be going back to try more of the food soon.
Greg / December 16, 2013 at 10:47 am
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What a joke this place is. Went there last night, no greeter in a half empty house, awful service and bartender, cold atmosphere, just all in a horrid experience. Stay away !

They clearly don't believe what they are doing there.

Deadpool 2014.
Pop's Lolly replying to a comment from Greg / December 16, 2013 at 02:33 pm
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What did you expect a place that serves snacks in a used tin can and beer in boots? All red-neckity joints are half-a$$ed raucous operations at best. Just don't slip in the spilled beer on the way out, pal.
kiltie24 / December 18, 2013 at 10:08 am
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Went there last night. The place was empty but Adrian?made us sit where he wanted. It took forever for a glass of wine and a beer to arrive.Condescending and slow service.A very limited menu forced us to drink up and go elsewhere.
foodluvr / December 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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I'm not sure why all you people feel the need to denegrate and speak so negatively of this new venue... you have no idea how much work is involved in opening up a new place. Not to mention that you should be some what open minded and forgiving the first few weeks of opening a venue... I was there on tuesday night and I had a great time! Super friendly staff, great drinks and great food!!! I would definitely return
Sam k / December 22, 2013 at 05:10 pm
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The food was awful. We had the shrimp in a can which was extremely saugy, the bacon bombs were flat out disgusting (and I'm one who Loves bacon) and also the fried chicken which was over fried and really dry. Not to mention the service was extremely awful, when we went it was a 1/3 full house at most, it was not busy at all, and we had to wait 10 minutes (no joke) to be seated followed by another good 30 minutes until the server finally took our drink then food order after having to flag her down and interrupt her convo with her co-worker. I would never waste my time going back here ever again, the place looks like a run down motel inside, cold atmosphere not inviting whatsoever. I think ill just opt for a street hot dog next time I'm wanting pub food, atleast you know what you're getting and it tastes good. To be kind, lets just say philthy McNasty's puts this place to shame food wise. Don't even waste your time and or money on this place. I wrote a review about my experience on my Instagram page and tagged #bootsbourbon, instead of management trying to make me a happy customer instead they Blocked me and tried flagging my account as abuse so now when I goto @bootsbourbon it shows 'no photos yet' but says they have 32 photos lol. This place is a joke, I welcome management to call me about my experience, I told one of the server to his face that the food plain out 'sucks' he replied well that's some harsh criticism, I was like NO, actually the food was straight awful. Anyways my #647,,,,865,,,,,1647 feel free to call me anyone from bootsbourbon, heck u guys already blocked me from IG which is pretty pathetic, nice way to make your customers want to ever come back. 👍
MrsPotato / December 23, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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While we're picking this place apart, they're serving drinks of our red Solo cups? :-/

I'm so confused who the demographic is for this place.
It's definitely under 21.
Chris! is a Jaguar replying to a comment from Chris! / December 24, 2013 at 01:45 pm
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Chris!, you are a jag
ddynasty / December 29, 2013 at 06:59 pm
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Wow, I can't believe how jaded some people are. I've been to this new country hot spot and had a fantastic experience. Service was prompt, food was delicious, and atmosphere was bumping. The people that are blowing their so called "bad experience" are most likely embellishing what really happened, and are huge drama queens, and go out to lash out on industry people to make themselves feel better. I'd cut the over the top complaints at least by half for service time, and don't even listen to the food complaints. These are people who can't boil water. I can't wait to go back to Boots N Bourbon- I had a great time and was greeted not only by staff, but the owners as well- who are down to earth beauties. Thanks for the good times, and I'll see you again B n B!!!
easy. / December 30, 2013 at 01:03 pm
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Very simple for all the negative comments here.

Monday to Thursday, its not going to be particularly busy.
You'll easily go in and have no trouble getting a seat and finding the atmosphere to be quieter. That's because that is the nature of a bar like this. It gets extremely busy Friday and Saturday nights when people are out having a different type of fun. Live music, dancing, etc.

Mid week, just like the majority of places, it wont be busy.

So depending on what your reasons for going to Boots are, remember what night you are going on, and temper your expectations accordingly.

Outside of that, the place is 3 weeks old. The food (although i havent had any major concerns with it) will figure itself out. But dont be expecting fine gourmet dining either. Just like you wouldnt at any Honky Tonk in Nashville.

You are going for the laid back, country feel. Music and drinks are the main reasons people are going. The fact it has decent food only makes it that much more enjoyable.

And lastly...dont forget the bar opened around the Holidays. Of course its going to have its ups and downs in regards to what nights will be busier, etc.

Give it time to settle into its groove and you'll see a real fun place to go to.
adrians / January 7, 2014 at 05:44 am
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Samk,mrspotato,kiltie24... I personally invite you all back for some cocktails and eats with our compliments. Clearly you caught us on an off night, and in our most vulnerable moments, right after we opened... I apologize for your negative experiences and would welcome the opportunity to make it up to you. As management and owners we are all professional, hard working, passionate people, who are also human. It is a daunting task opening a bar/restaurant, and is not as easy or linear as it may seem, especially a foreign concept in a city that thrives on scrutiny. With that being said, I am making no excuses, just allow us to make it up to you... all the best in the new year! Adrian S Bar Manager Boots & Bourbon
Shannon / January 16, 2014 at 11:46 am
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Try this place out! You will have the luxury of being served by one of the best bartenders around! Our server was Adrian and he made our experience a memorable and enjoyable one. Great concept and fantastic atmosphere. We will definitely be back!
Kelly / January 17, 2014 at 02:27 pm
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I'm a Calgarian transplanted in Toronto - interested in checking this out. Not quite home, but should be fun! Although... as an equestrian, I have to wonder why in George Straight's name is there an english ridng saddle in a western bar??? Major faux pas!
Kath / January 21, 2014 at 08:02 am
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Howdy! I'd like to line dance. When are the line dancing lessons? Do they happen at a set time on same day of the week? If I come sat night will there b line dancing? Thanks kath
Sev / January 26, 2014 at 04:35 pm
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decided to check this place out and have a whiskeys. Was told by staff we all would have to order food to sit and seating time was limited to 90 minutes in a half empty bar. I go out to relax, not be given deliverables and time constraints. Went down the street for our whiskeys. They must be making too much money to turn down selling bourbon on its own.
Jerry / January 28, 2014 at 10:58 am
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Is the food actually any good, or is it just junk food?
Jeff McQ / January 31, 2014 at 09:27 am
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Kath: Line Dancing happens on Thursday nights starting at 8. Absolutely free, easy and tonnes of fun! Come check us out sometime!
Jeff McQ / January 31, 2014 at 09:28 am
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https://www.facebook.com/LineDancingTO
Lars replying to a comment from ddynasty / February 17, 2014 at 08:48 am
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how much you did they pay for that positive review?...
Lars replying to a comment from ddynasty / February 17, 2014 at 08:53 am
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the service was horrible,the coffee,cold:the waiters,rude;to add insult to injury...18% gratuity for a buffet...?,for that guy that saw unicorns and rainbows and was greeted like a fairy godmother...I'm glad you had a good experience,I didnt...Hakuna matata...
v79 / March 7, 2014 at 01:27 pm
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I was upset to find that the mechanical bull is no longer in commission, apparently due to some licensing issue. Also of note are the price increases on drinks, which to date have not been updated on their website. Creemore pints are now $8 instead of $7, and the $6.25 cans are $7.50. Quite a noticeable and significant increase for a place that's only been open a few months.
Maver Rick replying to a comment from v79 / March 7, 2014 at 02:50 pm
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Heck, ya'll know somebody's gotta pay for the clean up after the Saturday night fights. Can't leave all the mud, blood, and beer go sour on da floor.
Jeff B. replying to a comment from adrians / March 21, 2014 at 09:13 am
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Adrian: just stumbled onto this page to check out the place prior to a friend and I going to B&B tonight, and your comment already makes me think I'll like the place. Everyone's going to like/dislike a place for various reasons, but one of the hugest components of a place is customer service. Someone who takes the time to follow up with dissatisfied customers shows they not only care about their job, but about their business, too. It seems very common sense, but is unfortunately not that common. Looking forward to checking the place out tonight.
Jason matthews / March 27, 2014 at 01:18 am
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It's funny how all these positive comments are from the OWNERS themselves. They must be really stupid to think that people believe that these are real people making good reviews haha. Everybody know boots n' bourbon is a shit hole. You guys call this a restaurant or bar? I call it a DUMP. Instead of spending your time trying to make positive FAKE REVIEWS on here, maybe you dumb fucks should spend the time making customers happy and have your servers all fired because they're shit servers
David P. / March 27, 2014 at 10:53 pm
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Where do I start with this dump? The food is disgustingly bad! The drinks are nothing special, in my opinion much over priced booze for a dump hole like boots n bourbon. The place is pretty dirty, something I would have went to if I were still in my college partying days, bottom line, 1. bad quality food; 2. Over priced liquor; 3. Very Very Very BAD service especially for a night that is slow. Horrible, WORST restaurant/bar I've been to in a long while. Shut down and close up shop already, save your money for McDonalds people
Lisa / April 18, 2014 at 05:28 pm
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We were invited to Boots 'N' Bourbon Saloon for a birthday party. While service was slow and seemed a little disorganized for half the table, our service was okay. It's not a place you go to for the food - it's pretty limited in selection. The taco salad was decent. Everyone else reported that the food okay, but nothing special.

We were kicked out of our seats soon after eating as the area was turning into "bottle service." Bottle service in a country bar?? My DH who is from the farm laughed and laughed at that one. Our table was full of drinks and drink orders, so it wasn't as if we were only drinking water. We didn't even bother asking about the bottle service as it just seemed so ridiculous.

The band that night was great. For the set that we stayed, they played music towards the older crowd. The crowd however, goes from 30 plus to 19 year olds pretty quickly. We left early to let more youngin' in - taking our wallets with us.

Cheers.

Angela / August 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm
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I've not been there myself, but my family member went there late last night with his girlfriend. They are a lovely young couple, stopped in for a drink after the show at the Opera House. They were accosted by drunken thugs at the bar without provocation, and had full glasses of water violently thrown at them when his girlfriend rejected their drunken advances, there was shattered glass everywhere!

My family member was attacked, they were followed out of the bar by three or more of these drunken thugs, and he was punched in the head, which required medical attention at Emerg.

Apparently this establishment has bouncers, they were not in evidence.

This place does not meet the minimum standard of providing a safe place to stop in for a drink. Drunken thugs apparently rule the roost, with no order imposed by security.

I live nearby,  but never plan to visit and will encourage friends and family members to avoid this establishment for their personal safety.

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