Wolf Like Me
Wolf Like Me is a self-described dive bar just west of Christie Pits. Formerly Gau Indian Village, this place has transformed into a low-key, late-night hangout spot with affordable drinks, adding to the variety of drinking options already on this part of Bloor.
Eye-catching artwork by Geoff Doner and Andrea Battersby starts at the front window with a robotic-looking wolf and continues on the walls with a trees-in-the-forest, "returning to nature" theme as it reaches the back of the bar.
"We reworked this place to be dark, loud and cheap," Zoe Simpson, one of the bar's partners, tells me. She wants it to be a place where regulars can get to know the staff by name, where they're going to know they like the bartender and that they're gonna get a good drink.
One of the first things I notice when I visit is that the tunes being played are right up my alley: Neutral Milk Hotel, The National, Sleigh Bells, everything I loved to listen to when I still paid attention to music.
Simpson confirms that the place is named after the TV on the Radio song , which makes me like the place even more as Return to Cookie Mountain is a kickass album. Better still, they've started up a take-one, leave-one vinyl library in the basement.
An arcade version of NFL Blitz '99 stands in one corner of the room while a tabletop arcade machine sits at the front, for those who want to drink and play. For those who'd rather bust a move, particularly when the bar hosts DJ nights on Fridays and Saturdays, there's a small dance floor area by the bar.
Craft brew-wise, Steam Whistle and four Great Lakes Brewery beers are featured on tap, with pints priced at $6. Jager and Jameson shots go for $4, or you can order a Wolf Pack - a beer and a shot - which are always $9.
Bar manager Mike Taylor has created some seriously tasty (and economical) $7 cocktails that each contain 2oz of booze in the hopes of encouraging patrons to try them over ordering $6 mixed drinks that only have 1oz pours. You don't have to twist my arm; clearly, the cocktails are of better value - who can refuse a double shot of alcohol for an extra $1?
Named after himself, the Mikey Taylor contains Scotch, house-made ginger beer and muddled lime, giving the concoction satisfying hits of smoky, spicy and tart with each sip.
Taylor's one concession to a fruity, sweet "girl drink" is the Bison Berry, which is a mix of Bison Grass Vodka, pomegranate juice and chilled mint tea. It has a fruit-forward start and a herbaceous end, making it an excellent alternative to boring vodka cranberries.
Keep an eye out for secret menu items and drink specials the bar promotes only through social media , like the Cracked Cherry Margarita, a play on a margarita and a sour, with tequila, house-made cherry syrup (fermented cherries, bourbon and root beer), egg white, salt and bar lime.
The bourbon-soaked cherries in the drink - that have now also absorbed tequila - are dangerously delicious, and fun to fish for in the glass.
Other off-menu cocktails include the Wolf Island Iced Tea and the Jabroni, a word that Taylor gleefully revels in repeating just a smidge too much. I'm pretty sure if you request one, you'll make his night.
Starting at Howl Hour (that would be midnight, when they usually play the bar's eponymous theme song), a Wolfblood cocktail - the bar's version of a Manhattan except with added pomegranate juice and cherry bitters for colour - is $6 until last call.
Eats-wise, the bar currently only has popcorn ($1) but a shareable snack menu is coming soon.
Simpson lives in the area, and had been searching for a good watering hole with this particular vibe for a while. "We finally found our bar," she says. "We just had to open it."
Cash only, but there's an ATM on site.