The Citizen is the newest iteration of the Brant House, a casual 200-seat hangout geared towards the King West professional set. Designed by Ian Rydberg of Solid Design & Build, the interior has a refined rec hall vibe. Wood panelled and decked out with vintage team photos and kitschy trophies (all glued down, just in case you were wondering), the room maintains a preppy air thanks to sophisticated furnishings like tufted leather chesterfields.
The menu, developed by Executive Chef Amanda Walti, offers a range of approachable pub foods. Bar snacks like truffle poutine ($14), jalapeno popper croquettes ($8) and oysters served by the half dozen ($14) are necessary accompaniments to dangerously easy to drink cocktails like the Metropolitan ($11) made with St. Germain Elderflower, vodka and citrus.
My starter, a vibrant root vegetable salad ($12) is built over a base of smoked creme fraiche with sherry-dressed beets, fresh dill, and shaved carrots, sunchokes and radish. Each component is nicely done, though the pungent smoky dairy sours next to the vinaigrette -- for me it's a miss, though my dining companions disagree.
More successful is the fried chicken ($18), composed of buttermilk-soaked thighs and livers, alongside silky sweet potato mash, slaw and two generous shards of crisped golden chicken skin.
Also under mains, a slow braised pork belly ($20) is pressed then deep-fried before being set atop a slab of smoky mac 'n' cheese. Crispy florets and a swoosh of broccoli puree mingle with a barbecue sauce on the side.
In addition to cocktails, the bar is stocked with eight brews on tap including Mad & Noisy ($9) and Murphy's Stout ($8). While they don't do pitchers, select cocktails can be ordered in carafes ($45) to share.
The Citizen is open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 5pm to midnight, on Thursday and Friday from 5pm until 2am and on Saturday from 6pm to 2am.
Photos by Jesse Milns