Studio Bar is the latest multiuse venue to open on Dundas West, after a long struggle. That must be a relief to owners Sebastian Lye, Alex Ottens and Mike Bodor, who have had the 4000-square-foot event space (with an approximately 300-person capacity) near-ready for months. The wait is finally over, and already it has a steady stream of events and shows that have the space transformed nightly.
No pulling back the veil BS or hidden entranceway here. Studio Bar is exposed - the entrance is a wall of windows streaming in light. But that's only the beginning. After the foyer, and a food display station where they do the finishing prep on their tapas dishes, the room opens up into a bar and performance area complete with stage.
Moving toward the back, you pass the fully stocked bar and a DJ area. Décor details are pleasing, including exposed brick and some drop lighting over the bar with candles for extra ambience. The walls feature whatever paintings or photographs happen to be featured. Overall though, the space is left unadorned, waiting for the latest function to put its individual imprint on the room.
This makes it perfect for a variety of music bookings and promotions, weddings and other receptions, pop-ups, parties, film screenings, comedy shows - even daytime rentals for yoga classes or retail. Basically any event you can think of that needs a multifunctional space, Studio Bar can accommodate. Oh - and you can just casually pop in for a snack or a beer, too. The owners and staff are warm and engaging.
The bar has a series of beers on tap (Boneshaker is $7.50, Spring Bock is $8.50, or have a Wellington or Heineken for $6.50 to name a few); bar rail cocktails, when not on special, run you about $6.50 each. The bar is available for pop-up food and chef events. When I stopped by, the tapas menu included hand made bacon and shrimp dumpling served on enoki mushrooms and Napa cabbage slaw ($8.50), mini falafels with pita and hummus, a candy beet goat cheese roulade and a chocolate fondue platter.
From where I was sitting, I could see the cook prepping one of the fondues, which included a bubbling three-tiered mini chocolate fountain accompanied by graham crackers, marshmallows, licorice and fresh fruit ($10). Imagine hanging out, watching a band or DJ play, crushing a couple pints and treating yourself to a chocolate fountain? Until that moment, I never thought it possible to combine the pleasures of libation, music and chocolate fondue anywhere but the confines of my own apartment. I think the combination is hilariously awesome - and gave me an all round good vibe from Studio Bar.