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Museum Tavern

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on August 24, 2012 / review policy

Museum Tavern TorontoMuseum Tavern is a stately new dining room that combines all the charm and nostalgia of a classic New York styled bar with a menu of old faves refreshed in their execution.

Co-owners and brothers Kyle and Glen Kristenbrun have deep roots in the Toronto restaurant scene – their father opened the El Mocombo and Bistro 990, amongst several others. Already, the young Kristenbruns operate the successful Over Easy breakfast joint on which the Museum Tavern sits atop.

Museum Tavern TorontoThe name is certainly a nod to the ROM across the street, but also a reference to the many elements of decor that were resurrected from their father's storage unit filled with relics from restaurants past (specifically Bemelman's, a New York styled bar circa the '70s and '80s – now the Bloor West Hugo Boss).

Museum Tavern TorontoTogether with architect Harvey Cowan, the space has been designed with attention to every detail. Dark wood paneling against checked floors create a handsome backdrop for decadent flourishes; an ornate tin ceiling, tufted leather banquets, gilded mirrors, marble tables, brass accents – the impressive space could stand in for a set on Mad Men.

Museum Tavern TorontoIn the kitchen, executive chef Stephen Gouzopoulos (formerly of L'Unità) offers an international twist on classic American fare. Admittedly, I want to eat every single thing on the menu; Lobster Rolls ($18) with bacon, Chop Salad ($16) with turkey confit, Stuffed Chicken Wings ($16) with bacon and blue cheese. Each is a take on a familiar dish, though elevated by quality ingredients.

Museum Tavern TorontoThe White Fish Tostada ($12) easily draws praise. A pair of crisp corn tortillas topped with red cabbage, pan fried white fish, avocado and drizzled with smokey adobo mayo and creme fraiche.

Museum Tavern TorontoThe Pulled Lamb Torpedo ($15) distinguishes itself with big flavours. A soft bun sandwiching rich, tender meat and pepped-up with harrisa, arugula pesto, goat cheese and green olives. Served alongside Tavern Slaw and super tasty fries the portion is generous and filling.

Museum Tavern TorontoIn keeping with the vintage theme, the bar program, developed by mixologist Moses McIntee, appropriately includes long-lost, forgotten cocktails like the Oak Aged Old Fashion ($14) and seasonal classics like the Peach Cobbler ($12). Additionally, there are ambitious plans to expand the already 40+ selection of single malt scotches to over 100 by this fall.

Museum Tavern TorontoNow what could be more fun than a Museum/Museum date? Your pick on which Museum you visit first.

Photos by Jesse Milns



evan / August 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Looks amazing. Can't wait to sit on that patio.
jer / August 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm
I thought this building was being torn down for a Condo? if not now, I imagine soon!
Bruce Skeaff / August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm
No, the condo went up next building over. Being a longtime patron of the family's past restaurants and clubs, this quickly became a new favourite of mine.
Cyril Sneer / August 24, 2012 at 01:00 pm
Looks nice, but what are the drink prices like?
Franco / August 24, 2012 at 01:27 pm
I need to go to here.
Mikey replying to a comment from Cyril Sneer / August 24, 2012 at 01:50 pm
Didn't they say? Like $14 for an Old Fashion. Not cheap, but the most I've paid for an Old Fashion, so in that respect...

Too bad the area is terrible at night.
Wazoo / August 24, 2012 at 01:55 pm
Looked at the menu and it looks REALLY over-priced. Am I wrong? Half chicken is $26 plus tax and tip. Yikes.
happily going back replying to a comment from Wazoo / August 24, 2012 at 07:58 pm
I ate there and yes, its not the cheapest around but I think that the care taken for preparation and taste were well worth the money. If you are looking for cheap chicken I hear Swiss Chalet has some good deals.
Mike / August 24, 2012 at 08:32 pm
$12 dollars for a 3 oz cocktail is $4 dollars a drink really when you do the math...the old fashioned negroni ect.. are oak aged for a few weeks hence the extra couple dollars.
Davenport / August 25, 2012 at 02:03 pm
Liora, Thanks for this....because of the zero ambiance of the burrito resto that used to be there I had little interest in checking MT out..totally changed my mind...food looks great..dig the white jacket on bartender....classy.

Marilee Crispo / August 26, 2012 at 07:42 pm
It is amazing.... try the lobster rolls!!!! The bar is great but the bartenders are even better! We loved the place.....
russ / August 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm
Had drinks here yesterday.. amazing cocktails, excellent bartenders.
Marcel / September 2, 2012 at 05:04 pm
I went to Museum Tavern with my partner the other night. The evening was going smoothly 'til we over heard the manager or owner be so rude to one of the waitresses over ketchup. It was terrible to watch. We will never go back.

Chris / September 18, 2012 at 11:32 am
Lucked out ending up here Saturday with a friend after some shopping. We saw the patio and decided to check it out. The inside is gorgeous. I was awestruck by how amazing their bar looked. Even the knifes were elegant. I ended up asking where they bought all their glass where and utensils and the manager was obliged with a smile.

Our waiter was probably my favorite part. The perfect amount of wit, story telling, and knowing when to leave the table.

They also have a great selection of beer but sadly the draft hadn't been put in yet, so we opted for a bottle of imported beer which was fairly priced at 5$-6$ a bottle.

Thinking that the menu would contain the normal pub food threw me off as there was an eclectic assortment of items. My friend and I both ended up being boring and getting something off the sandwich menu. I was thoroughly impressed with my order as was my friend.

After finishing up our bill and walking out the front door, we promised ourselves we would return soon to this fine establishment.
Chris replying to a comment from Chris / September 18, 2012 at 11:34 am
I ended up asking where they bought all their glassware and utensils and the manager obliged with a smile*

That's what I get for not reading over it before I post...
Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:17 pm
Wazoo replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:19 pm
And option classes is boring((( sad but true
Wazoo replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:23 pm
let's get high dudes, i already did, so coooool staff yo
Chris gv ceo replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:28 pm
i'll will find you bastard and kick ya ass from gv
Barac Obama replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:29 pm
Hey guys, what is gv?
Chris gv ceo replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 4, 2013 at 03:29 pm
Simon / July 11, 2014 at 08:17 pm
Bunch of fucking scumbags running this joint. Trying to tell me my check was in the mail. I told them I'd consulted a lawyer, and that if the check wasn't in my hand the next day, I'd take them to the Labour Board. They'll all pussies as far as I'm concerned, because I don't even know any lawyers, and they caved, paying me down to the minute for my back wages without any deductions at all.

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