Penny's is one of the latest bars dotting the molting retail landscape of Bloordale Village . Located at Bloor and Lansdowne, the bar opened its doors earlier this year in a heavily renovated space, shedding the skin of its previous incarnation as CafĂŠ Vatan.
Penny's describes itself as a dive bar with a touch of class. As for decor, it's hard to miss the giant art deco sign outside. Inside features an impressive sharpie mural along one wall of the neighbourhood storefronts.
The lights are not turned down - it's bright. But it's also clean, and bartender Eric Tanielu was welcoming and friendly. On a quiet Wednesday night patrons reflected the mixed crowd of that neighbourhood.
You can easily walk in and order a beer or cocktail and not feel any sideways glances either way; there's a variety of Ontario craft brews on tap, while cocktails stick to classics like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans.
Food offerings include an often-changing menu that might include items like pork sliders for $9.50, tuna salad lettuce wraps for $8 and samosas for $5.
Equipped with empty space in the back to accommodate live music, the bar has an open jam every Tuesday, but also books DJs and bands like Toronto blues act The Legendary Castaways .
This is owner Olivia Jewer's first bar, but she has been in the service industry for two decades, and you can tell that a lot of work has gone into something that is close to her heart.
Writing by Erin O'Born.