Toronto patio season preview: Factory Girl
On the Danforth, a new restaurant is paying tribute to the long and enduring relationship Toronto has had with the Rolling Stones.
It's a relationship that began in earnest back in 1977 when they played a legendary show at the El Moccambo famously attended by Margaret Trudeau, but even more notable for the heroin bust the Toronto Police force laid down on Keith Richards (one Richards credits with saving his life). As a result of the bust The Stones had to play two benefit shows in Oshawa for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
Since then, Toronto has become the de facto rehearsal space and launch point for many subsequent tours giving fans the opportunity to see them play in venues like the Horseshoe Tavern and the Phoenix. It was also the Stones that stepped up and headlined SARS fest benefit.
It seems the band is a bit chuffed with our city and as a result, Toronto's got a bit of a stiffy for the band as well. Stone's Place in Parkdale is perhaps the most obvious and best-known example of Rolling Stone worship, but Factory Girl (named for the song on Beggar's Banquet) on the Danforth makes for a pretty enjoyable east end option. Not that the two are in any kind of competition, Factory Girl is more bar/restaurant than seedy lounge.
It's a laid back bar with a bit of class, as assortment of rock n' roll paraphernalia decorating the walls and not one, but two patios.
Who goes there?
Factory girl is a slightly classier kind of rock n' roll bar, one with cloth napkins and a wine list and as such, appeals to just that demographic--whatever that means. Really though, The Danforth is a diverse and mature neighbourhood with people of all income levels and all ages--those are the people stopping in at Factory Girl for a drink and all are welcome.
Grub and libations
Look for Beau's and Rolling Rock on tap along with a whole slew of other local and imported brands, pints range from $4.50-$6.50, and if beer isn't your thing you can peruse the wine list with a fairly extensive selection of old and new world wines ranging from $6-$11 per glass.
On the menu you'll find the regular pub grub along with a great selection of sandwiches (I say go for the Veal Scaloppini, $12.95), pizza (the Factory Pizza has pepperoni, Italian sausage, red onion and hot peppers for $14), pasta and mains. And of course, because no one is as rock n' roll as they used to be, there's the kids menu (all dishes include a drink, dessert and veggies, $9.95).
Odds of scoring (a seat)
There's lots of space here; 40 seats out back and additional 12 street side. That's on top of the 140 available inside. That's right, the place is actually pretty big, but it doesn't feel that way. You only get the sense of its size when you walk through it towards the back patio and rooms continue to open up into more rooms.
A view to a...
At Factory Girl you have the choice of the secluded backyard oasis, or people watching from the Danforth. Each have their own advantage, my recommendation? If you're there for dinner, sit out back and enjoy the atmosphere then move up front for drinks and watch the city as it transforms from day to night.
The back is decorated with umbrellas that create enough shade that sun dodgers will be okay, but if you're looking for a little bronze there's certainly opportunity.
This patio is brand new; it still smells like fresh cut wood. The back is a mix of booths and tables with a seamless connection to the indoors. It's a great little secluded space and quite honestly, at Danforth and Broadview, my #1 choice for a backyard beer. That being said, with a full view of Danforth out front it's a good bet for street side seating as well.
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