Jeff Salvian should be nervous. When I meet him, he is already three weeks behind schedule on the soon-to-open Queen West bar that he co-owns, The Double Deuce Saloon. Days before the modified opening date (this week sometime, they swear), some key pieces – including couches for the back lounge and a Douglas fir bar – are yet to arrive. Plus, Salvian is opening shop on the tricky strip of Queen Street between the Drake and the Gladstone, paradoxically one of Toronto’s hottest strips and a ghost town of failed bars.
Yet Salvian exudes calmness. Maybe it’s his ski resort pedigree: Salvian moved here from Golden, BC, where he worked at Kicking Horse. Or maybe it’s his business partners: former Drake chef Corey Vitallo and Czehoski co-creator David Mitton, now both of the Harbord Room, and both guys who understand Queen West as well as anybody.
The three were looking to open a place in Vancouver, but when the Cock and Tail shuttered after its first anniversary, they decided to make a move onto what Salvian acknowledges is a notoriously difficult strip. “People in this neighbourhood can smell BS a mile away,” he says. Luckily, his partners’ track record “is a security net.”
In contrast with other bars that open without really knowing the neighbourhood, Salvian and co. understand the community intimately. That, and well-priced food – think charcuterie plates and sandwiches – and attentive service will distinguish The Double Deuce Saloon from so many too-cool-for-school Ossington Street bars, where aloof service is part of the appeal. “We’re not trying to set ourselves apart too much,” he says. “We’re just bringing what we feel the neighbourhood needs.”
The Double Deuce Saloon, 1168 Queen St. W., 416-316-9311, allegedly opens this week.
Image courtesy of kevinsteele on Flickr.