The Steady is open near Bloor and Dufferin, doing double duty as a weekend brunch spot and a dancehall and event hotspot by night. Taking over the space from Ethiopian restaurant Queen of Sheba, the eatery and bar plays host to dance parties, comedy events, book launches, live music, and more while the kitchen is helmed by co-owner Vanessa Robak, ex-Hogtown Vegan chef.
Co-owner and barkeep Keaton Taylor is disarmingly friendly. The space's decor takes cues from Taylor's South Beach roots featuring deco-inspired geometric colour blocks in sherbet hues and flamingo motifs. The front room is cozy, offering cafe seating opposite the bar while in the back there is a spacious dining room that's easily converted to a dance floor.
For desserts and snacks the Steady focuses on donuts (3 for $6) made fresh in house daily, with exotic flavours that change weekly (follow them on Instagram for updates). At least one gluten free variety is baked each day. Flavours seldom repeat but have included hot buttered rum and absinthe candy apple. While they've become a brunch staple, donuts are also often available for munching at night.
The brunch menu also lists spins on comfort fare such as their Eggs Teddy ($14) with crab cakes, garlic-y spinach, and chipotle holendaise, Biscuits and Gravy ($13) (styled after Taylor's mother's own recipe), and the Southern Skillet ($13), an American style served-in-a-skillet hash fry up with roasted vegetables, shredded potatoes, cheese, and eggs. Robak dedicates equal attention to meat eaters and vegans alike and bills her offerings as casual, Miami-inspired dishes peppered with Cuban accents.
The cocktail list is concise, billing just a select few signature drinks. Best sellers include their Old Fashioned Lovesong ($10), Lapsang Souchong black tea infused spiced whisky with cherry bitters, and the Unsteady ($7), a concoction of rye, grapefruit, tangerine, orange, and lemon juice.
Bar events are varied: you might see drag queens hosting karaoke one night, bring-your-own-record the next, then a full on sweaty dance party like Blood, Sweat & Queers or Essence Brown - the sizable back room and sound system makes for one of the handiest event spaces in the neighbourhood.
The Steady is open evenings Wednesday to Saturday (find full event listings on their website), with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Photos by Jesse Milns