Dumbo Snack Bar
Dumbo Snack Bar is a sultry little spot in Parkdale where you can ditch the cellphone to indulge on cocktails and unique late night eats.
Taking over where Ivana Raca's former restaurant used to be, the narrow bar – washed completely in red light – sort of makes you feel like you're in a sexy photography dark room, lit by the bar's neon elephant logo.
The provocative lighting is inspired by the moody establishments of Morocco, where owner Nick Peach – former head bartender at Soho House and audio entrepreneur – stayed during a three month surfing stint.
Aside from the bar's cool late night vibes, there are a few features that set it apart from other snack bars. For one, it has a no-waste policy, meaning you won't find any straws and plastics here.
If you're a phone fidgeter, the option to 'check-in' your phone to the charging station is definitely a plus.
Located behind the bar, the little set of drawers has chargers for all types of phones. Exchange your phone for a ticket stub so you can enjoy your night distraction-free while juicing the cell.
Downstairs you'll find a photo booth where you and the crew can take a series of photos and e-mail it to yourselves in GIF-form for free: a true 21st century luxury.
To the back of the restaurant you'll find the open kitchen where head chef Cristian Thomas, formerly of Union Social, works the menu, and a pathway to the outdoor patio.
The menu itself is lean and full of surprises. For a cute date night drink, share an adorable but boozy teapot ($20) of cocktails like the Photobomb, a mix of gin, prosecco, and honey.
With up to five shots of liquor inside, this is definitely not your meemaw's type of tea. Those seeking something less potent can always opt for drafts ($7) or tall cans ($8) of local brews like Ace Hill.
For something with a kick, The Floor Is Lava Cocktail ($11) is a standout spicy concoction of Tromba tequila, agave, lime and jalapeno.
The roasted Brussel sprouts ($7) served with sriracha aioli make for a tasty veggie snack with the occasional over-salted sprout.
The signature Dumbo sandwich ($8) is a melty bite that tastes like a fancy grilled cheese: four-hour braised short ribs, fried onions, and housemade chipotle mayo are all tied together with medium cheddar.
Basically a deconstructed salad, the Caesar stack ($7) – a fun but impractical bite for those with average-sized mouths – are giant croutons decked out with romaine, swiss cheese, bacon, and lemon.
The Moroccan meatball sliders ($9) feature big balls of beef chuck, provolone cheese, tomato sauce and a spice blend that gives the dish a North African twist with a punch of nutmeg.
For something caffeinated but still boozy, the Coffee Chat ($11) comes topped with three coffee beans and contains Sobieski vodka, Kahlua, and a shot of espresso from Detour Coffee, one of Southern Ontario's top roasters.
Depending on your priorities, however, the best part of this bar is that it offers chocolate chip cookies ($5), baked fresh in the oven and served in a plate of four. Forget poutine and pizza as the go-to post-party snacks, puffy homemade cookies are the next late night wave.