The Slip, a partnership between the Harbourfront Centre and Boxcar Social , is an open-air, seasonal bar by the water that's open for five months of the year, from May to September. Boxcar will also have its own location inside the Harbourfront building.
Located in a big space next to the Concert Stage, this 250-capacity spot is essentially a huge lakeside patio, its name a nautical reference to acknowledge its proximity to water and the marina docks. In traditional Boxcar fashion, the owners built all the wood furniture for the deck themselves, including all the benches, tables and communal seating booths.
The intention is to draw a younger crowd, and the patio has an '80s, Miami Vice kind of vibe, with the bar's name lit up in hot pink and fun tunes like J. Timberlake's "Pose" and Kanye's "Gold Digger" playing over the speakers.
Beer options are a Labatt monopoly of Labatt 50, Shock Top, Goose Island IPA and Brickworks Cider on tap ($8-$8.50/pint, $22-$24/pitcher), or Coronas in a bucket ($30 for five, or $7 each).
There are also two Creekside wines on tap ($9/5oz., $40/26oz.) and a couple of Norman Hardie wines by the glass (Riesling, $11; Cab Franc, $13) or bottle ($50/$60).
You can pretty much get a pitcher of anything here, including the two rotating kegged cocktails ($10 each or $55/pitcher) on offer, which are a Margarita and a Paper Plane when we visit.
A simple, straightforward menu of made-in-house, summer-friendly snacks by chef Nico Aldea (former sous-chef of the now-closed Porzia ) consist of everything from tacos and corn to ribs and burgers, and the prices aren't too extortionate considering the touristy waterfront locale.
Ceviche with tortilla chips ($12) comprise albacore tuna topped with corn kernels and sweet chili accompanied by fresh guacamole. Unlike most ceviche I'm used to, the tuna is cut into big, thick, sashimi-like slices instead of chopped into smaller pieces, but I find this a pleasant way to eat the fish.
My friend's personal fave is the Philly cheese sammy ($16), an irresistible combo of braised short ribs (salty and drippy with juices), caramelized onions and aioli on a brioche bun. It comes with a side of fries, which I find a bit "meh," as they aren't particularly crispy and lack flavour.
I'm told the buttermilk fried chicken ($14) rivals Brandon Olsen's (Aldea used to work with Olsen); a bold claim, yet it does come close. The boneless thigh pieces are incredibly flavourful and super moist and juicy, but the exterior could be a bit more crispy. They're served with kimchi and buttermilk sauce for dipping, which work as perfect complements.
Overall, this is a sweet spot for a summertime hang and a nice place to alternate with the nearby Amsterdam BrewHouse . I like that the shared tables are conducive to striking up random convos with strangers, and there's nothing like a lovely waterfront patio to trick you into feeling like you're on vacation.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.