alobar toronto location downtown

Michelin-starred Alobar opening second Toronto location

Toronto's dining choices are plentiful but often the most coveted reservations are at the hottest restaurants, especially those that have been internationally lauded, by, you know, the Michelin guide.

Having garnered a prestigious Michelin star for both its flagship Alo, and its bistro-esque restaurant and cocktail bar, Alobar Yorkville, Alo Food Group has been expanding its reach across the city.

For the past couple of years, the group has focused its attention on casual sibling, Aloette, including opening outposts of the French diner across Toronto, but now it's time for the middle child to shine.

Billed as being a "simply decorated bistro serving creative, scratch-made food fusing European & Asian influences," blogTO has received confirmation from Alo Food Group's Operations Manager, Mary Donison, that the new Alobar Downtown will be opening "in late spring."

The restaurant has taken over the space vacated by Drake One Fifty, best remembered as the 180-seat restaurant offshoot of the iconic West Queen West hotel. A staple fixture for business lunches and the afterwork crowd, its loss was felt by many in the Financial District, however, Alobar should fill that void without any issue.

The group hasn't made any formal announcements about their most recent project; however, they have advertised a hiring fair at the location from their Yorkville Instagram account. They also have a Tock reservation page up, although it isn't currently accepting any reservations.

When asked about the space, Donison tells blogTO that it will not feel like its predecessor, however, the group did keep Drake One Fifty's iconic flooring which we're told works well with the redesigned room.

The room itself is divided into two distinct spaces: A bar and a dining room that will accommodate around 150 guests.

"When you first enter, it's the bar room where the atmosphere will be bolder, more vibrant, and more fun," says Donison. "We wanted to evoke the idea of meeting somebody at a bar where you're not tied down to one spot, and where you feel comfortable moving around. There'll be lounge seating and things like that as well as high-top bar seating.

"And then in the dining room, the ambience is a little bit more delicate. There's a lot of ambient light, a lot of soft textures. It looks different from [Alobar] Yorkville, and it absolutely has its own personality."

And yes, there will be a patio.

Food-wise, Donison tells blogTO that Alobar Yorkville's chef de cuisine Rebekah Bruce will be at the helm of the massive project's kitchen. The expanded menu will be composed of fan favourites in addition to new items, hinting that the downtown location will be more steakhouse-inspired and will include options to pick your own protein and sides to share.

But the downtown outpost differs most from Alo and Alobar Yorkville in that it will be open for lunch and will have new lunch-focused offerings.

"We've done a lot of openings and we've got a timeline, but this is also the first restaurant opening since 2018," Donison shares about the group's growth. "Even though [Alobar] is a concept that already exists within our local group, it is still a lot of firsts for us. So, we're extremely excited.

"It's our first big restaurant – everything so far has been focused on 35 to 45 seats. This one is a bit of a monster and so we have wide open arms to welcome everybody. It's also the first time that we’re transplanting a concept to a new location.

"We've seen an evolution of the concept since it opened. It was more fine dining back in 2018, and more focused on the standards set by Alo. Now, it’s fun and loud. We're honoured to have a Michelin star, but it gets rowdy in there in the best way, so we want to make sure that we're bringing that spirit down there while maintaining the genuine service we are known for."

Alobar Downtown is set to open at 150 York Street in late spring.

Lead photo by

Renee Suen


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