The Standard Bar is the hidden watering hole serving up gin cocktails and live DJ nights from inside the depths of Parkdale Pizza.
Find this tiny little bar by walking through the pizza shop and downstairs to the washroom, through the graffiti-bombed hallway, and up a flight of stairs for the speakeasy within. Dim lighting, currogated metal detailing, and visual odes to the speakeasy era make up this 700-square-foot space by the same guy behind the now-shuttered Indian snack bar IST.
Naveen Chakravarti, who, aside from opening a number of Toronto venues over the last years, also runs a custom suit company and large format printing company that's had clients like Vegandale and Stella.
The bar offers its own snack menu, as well as the full menu from Parkdale Pizza up front.
All pies are $10, like the Tandoori Chicken Pizza made with housemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, and red peppers.
The snack bar's apps are a standout for me, especially the masala fries ($5), made using a recipe that's been passed down in Chakravarti's family using mix of four secret spices and fries that have been marinating overnight.
The grilled cheese ($5) gives you the option of adding bacon for $2.
Nachos ($7) are pretty huge. Add the beef for an extra $2, and you'll get a side of guac and a cucumber sour cream sauce.
The focus of the bar is definitely gin, harkening to the speakeasy theme, with 11 different gins from around the world.
That includes Gun Powder Irish Gin, which you can find in the grapefruit Curious Jackelope.
All cocktails are $13.27. One of my favourite is the Pink gin and tonic, which has raspberry and Beefeater gin.
The Cure has a bunch of medicinal components like honey, ginger, turmeric syrup, dark rum and ginger.
The Carda B is Negroni-inspired drink with cardamon bitters and rye.
There are also some Canadian brands like Ungava from Montreal and Hidden Temple Gin from Toronto's Nickel 9 Distillery.
On Fridays and Saturdays, a painting at the back of the bar comes down to reveal a booth where DJs like Eric The Tutor might be spinning on the 1s and 2s.