Popular Toronto bar closing due to rent increase
"You'll be seeing us again," say the sisters behind a popular cocktail and snack bar soon to shut down.
I'll Be Seeing You posted to their Instagram that they'd be closing next month in the face of rising rent and the challenges brought by the pandemic.
🚨 update 🚨 Hey old friends, new friends, good friends, best friends and supporters. The time has come to say goodbye. It’s been an amazing five years with ups, downs and everything in between. With a large rent raise looming, an uncooperative landlord combined with Covid, we have decided to shut the doors. We have so much to be thankful for. None of this would have been possible without the support of our family (dad, the shucker and Cassie the kitchen pinch hitter), amazing staff, (Connor the lady magnet and second in command, kaley the weekend warrior and Kyle the no bullshit bartender) and for all the staff that’s been with us throughout the years. To all of our amazing neighbours - from sharing, borrowing, lending, gossiping and late night drinks, we raise a glass to you! (@hilotoronto @comradetoronto @cheznoustoronto @meanbaotoronto ). To our artist in residence, Chrissy, you’ve captured our dreams with chalk, paint and love. To funniest ladies of them all, Cara and Natalie! Thanks for hosting one of the first female fronted east end shows. You gave us so many laughs over the years. And finally thanks to everyone who has walked through the doors and truly got us, from our vibe to our menu to our decor. We will truly cherish and will miss all the great memories we’ve had together 🖤 Our last day of service will be October 24. xoxo, Natasha, Vanessa and Chef P #illbeseeingyou
"We have tried to negotiate a fair lease renewal with our landlord for the past two months and unfortunately it was not possible," wrote owners Natasha and Vanessa Smardenka in a statement to blogTO.
They allege that their landlord applied for the rent subsidy after "much resistance" but for the three months they were shut down "his main goal was to double rent leading up to the end of our new five year lease."
"We feel this is unfair due to the past six plus months of hardships the industry had endured and looking forward to a difficult few years to come," they said.
"It is concerning that we as tenants are expected to bear all the losses due to circumstances beyond our control while landlords continue business as usual."
The bar's last day will be Oct. 24 but the sisters promise they're "going out on a high note." They've been selling boozy slushies, cocktail kits and snacks like jalapeno poppers for takeout during the pandemic and have been taking an active part in the city's CafeTO program.
"This pandemic is a time when everyone needs to work together to survive and greed has no place in this and will surely not help us all to go forward as an industry," the owners wrote.
"Not only are we walking away from everything we have built for the past five years, we feel most sad for all of our amazing staff we have to lay off."
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