Hitch is now open near Queen and Leslie. I visited the bar on a quiet Monday evening. Because the bar is so new, I couldn't find any information about it online (other than the address) so I had no idea what to expect. As I entered the bar, I hypothesized the possible source of the name: Is it a reference to a new trend of incorporating camping into the bars of Leslieville ? The namesake of that movie starring Willow Smith's dad? An acronym for H ipters I n T oronto C ome H ere?
The bartender informed me that the bar is actually named after Christopher Hitchens (commonly known as Hitch). Using Hitch as an inspirational figure for a bar makes sense as Hitch was known to be a heavy drinker, a much more intuitive choice than the Mr.Rogers themed club in Parkdale .
Hitch's drinking habits are reflected in the exceedingly strong cocktails. I ordered a Bourbon Sour ($11), recommended by the bartender. I'm usually not a big fan of hard liquor from the whiskey family - it reminds me of the time when I was 17 and put Baby Orajel on my tongue so I could drink rye without tasting it. However, this drink was delicious - the spices juxtaposed with the sour were the perfect drink on such a cold night. Garnishing the two-shot drink with sour cranberries instead of the traditional maraschino cherries was a welcome touch.
The bar, founded by the owner of the nearby Mercury Espresso , also has a small menu of snacks and appetizers ranging from $6-10. We ordered the hummus and chips ($6), the chorizo, manchego and bread ($10), the rustic country pate ($9), and the tuna conserva ($10). Of the appetizers, the rustic country pate was my favourite. The pate was amazing and really tied in the Hitch theme: the pork was representative of Hitchens' anti-Zionist beliefs while the use of lamb was a throwback to his public criticism of Mother Teresa.
The smokiness was a reference to his ever-present Rothmans and the heavy onion really spoke to the layers of Hitchens' ideology, from socialist to capitalism to Marxist. The hummus and chorizo plate were also very enjoyable and the tuna earned rave reviews though I did not partake as I am not a fish fan (too much experimentation in college).
Food and drink aside, one of the best things about Hitch is the atmosphere. The bar, decorated with animal busts and mason jar lights, is a Pinterester's wet dream. The cozy space has one long table as well as several smaller tables and rather than the usual mounted TV, Hitch has installed a projector opposite the largest wall. The bartender mentioned they plan to show documentaries and TED Talks at the bar.
For an establishment where every cocktail contains a double shot, it's well-lit and the music is low, making it a good venue for a casual meeting or breaking up with someone.
Overall, Hitch is a great place to go for a stiff drink, delicious snacks, and good conversation. This bar truly embodies the idea of a salon . (The use of the word 'salon' in public is the first ever application of my liberal arts education. Take that, everyone who said Library Science was a waste!) I will definitely return to Hitch in the near future- but for the sake of the pate, leave the Baby Orajel at home.