156 cumberland toronto

Toronto is getting a new Korean-inspired underground bar

Toronto is the land of secret and hidden bars, but the newest one we're getting is underground and wonderfully Korean-inspired.

The people behind 156 Cumberland are at it again with a speakeasy-style concept underneath their restaurant.

156 Cumberland serves French food with Korean influences: think rice cakes with creme fraiche, lamb with gochujang jus and a risotto that's like a take on a Korean congee.

The concept won't have a separate name, but whereas 156 is all about the food, the hidden bar should focus more on cocktails. As well as having a full bar, the space will serve signature cocktails, soju and a curated wine list.

"We are working to incorporate Korean elements such as Korean fruits, or region specific cocktails," 156 Cumberland manager Jennifer Jeong tells blogTO.

The bar project will be a total transformation of the space that was previously unseen by diners.

"Before this renovation, the bar area was being used as a server station, as well as a prep area for our chefs. With the opening of this bar we had to move these stations into the small kitchen and basement storage area which was a challenge," says Jeong.

"Another challenge was the previous restaurant had placed a massive fish tank right in the middle of this room. It was a huge challenge getting this tank out of the restaurant and required eight men to move it."

They're still working on some renovations like overhead shelving and a sound system, but are hoping that the concept will be open to guests by the end of May. The secret bar should be open during the same hours as the restaurant from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., but it could eventually stay open later depending on how things go.

The speakeasy-style bar isn't the only new exciting hangout space the restaurant is developing: they're also working on a patio for the warm months ahead. It should be positioned right outside the restaurant, with L-shaped bar seating.

If you love Korean food, cocktails and businesses, this might just be your new hotspot this upcoming summer.

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