tasty chicken house toronto

One of Toronto's most famous dive bars has permanently closed

For better or for worse, a longstanding and notoriously sketchy bar in the heart of Leslieville has officially served its last Old Milwaukee with a side of Doritos.

Tasty Chicken House, alternatively known in some city records as "New Tasty Chicken House," recently closed its doors at 1014 Queen St E. for good, according to the site's new owner.

The decades-old dive bar, known for its steady daytime crowds of older gentlemen and alleged crack enthusiasts, will be missed for its colourful exterior and weird, nostalgic charm.

What won't be remembered is their food — because here's the thing: Tasty Chicken House never actually served chicken. At least, not that anyone's ever been able to order.

"DO NOT GO HERE!!!!! THEY DO NOT HAVE CHICKEN!!!!" reads a locally-famous Yelp review of the spot posted in 2009.

"THIS IS NOT AN EATERY. This is a dirty, dirty, dirty dive bar, where my entrance was greeted with 'isn't that a pretty new face' by a man in his 50's with only half his teeth."

Every other review on the page confirms a lack of chicken at Tasty Chicken House. In 2014, one customer said they were told "the kitchen is closed."

"There is absolutely no chicken at the New Tasty Chicken House," wrote another person still. "None."

"The most prominent feature here are the people smoking outside. And the people who have just finished their cigarettes drinking bottles of beer inside. They stare at you with faces that only many years of rough living can create."

Part and parcel of Queen Street East for many, many years, Tasty Chicken House is perhaps best known these days for hosting a huge "Leslieville" mural on its side wall, in front of a bike share station on Boston Avenue.

The mural, painted by Toronto artist Mediah in 2017, has proven popular on Instagram, though that seems to have done little for the business itself: It was up for sale in 2019 for just $88,000.

No longer for sale, the building will soon transform into what its new owner calls a "neighbourhood dive-bar" named "Wei's Bar and Variety."

"Tasty Chicken House is now permanently closed," confirmed Jerwin of Wei's Bar and Variety this week by email. "I know that they have been part of Leslieville community for more than decades. I am sure that they will be missed."

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto

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