Four Barrel Holly's
Four Barrel Holly’s has a name that plays on a make of carburetor. It seems like it’s meant to impart a fun grunginess to the industrial pub, reminding me a little of the name of a Bruce Springsteen song or a drag queen.
The space holds 220, patio included, an open vibe and lots of colour dominating both the decor and the menu, all of which is created fresh in house and headed up by Chef Denis Guiol from Montreal.
The Instagrammable pop art feel in here is courtesy of Damon Snider of Type-D Living, who handmade all light fixtures out of car parts.
Market price oysters are available every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Today’s a meaty, briny Irish point served with unconventional but harmonious cucumber mignonette and smoky, spicy chipotle tabasco sauce.
Lemongrass Beef Skewers ($14) are inspired by Vietnamese street cuisine, of which Guiol is a big fan. Ground Canadian AAA beef is packed around a slightly floppy lemongrass skewer, a wasabi aioli bringing the weighty snack together.
Red Tuna Nicoise Salad ($19) feels almost like less of a take on a nicoise than a tataki, top quality, fall-apart yellowfin tuna seared for just seconds, crusted with a little salty nori. A nutless arugula pesto provides some extra moisture and brightness.
Poutine 51416 ($15, $8 for our half order) is a mouthful both to order and literally, but it’s pretty worth stumbling over the name for fresh cut fries, Quebec cheese curds and a starring gravy made from a 16-hour stock of strained beef bones.
A Canadian Bacon and Pickled Pineapple pizza ($17) reminds me a bit of long-ago dorm room snacks.
It’s a thin-crust style but the dough just comes off kind of floppy and underdone, the house tomato sauce is a bit sweet and I can’t taste much of a pickle on the pineapples, but I have no doubt this would at least satisfy a group of hungry drinkers.
House ice cream ($10) swoops in to save the day, again inspired by Vietnam, made with condensed milk. It’s topped with a chocolate ganache crumble, roasted coconut, and a Guinness caramel that creates a contrast between creamy, sweet, fudgy and salty.
The signature Holly’s Nightcap is topped with a thick handmade whipped cream infused with Kraken rum I could eat with a spoon.
The Perfectly Smoked Old Fashioned is another signature, a relatively run-of-the-mill cocktail if not for a garnish of pitted cherries marinated with bourbon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavender, sugar and cherry juice for a sour, complex accompaniment.
Odds are there’ll always be room and something on the menu for everyone at this crowd-pleaser of a restobar hangout.