In the past few years, as rising rents and loft-hunting yuppies have pushed out the indigenous Queen West crowd, refugees have been drifting north along Ossington, opening galleries and vegan coffee shops along the way. The migration has produced the strange and dynamic intersection of Dundas and Ossington, where Portuguese sports bars jostle cheek-by-jowl with hipster hangouts like the Communist’s Daughter.
A new arrival is adding “ersatz English pub” to the neighbourhood’s offerings. Opera Bob’s Public House opened quietly on Friday night, and in contrast to the hood’s other new bars, this one says less Fleet Foxes, more Stompin’ Tom. With a simple menu dominated by paninis (The Happy Chicken: turkey, cranberry and brie; The Hogtown: peameal bacon and maple butter), dark wood floors and tables, sturdy captain’s chairs, plain plaster walls and stiff-backed beer-hall booths, it’s clear that Bob’s intends to be a home for hosers, not posers.
“We’re pub guys, not clubby,” says co-owner Ross. (The owners requested we conceal their identities for fear of reprimand at their day jobs.) “We like a lively atmosphere,” says Will, another co-owner. “It’s a pub but the energy level’s a bit higher.”
Two TVs over the bar show hockey and soccer games, but the bar will also feature some live music. Whether or not there will be an onstage appearance from namesake Bob – acclaimed real-life opera singer Robert Pomakov, who is a silent partner – remains to be seen.
Paninis, $8.50. Opera Bob’s Public House, 1112 Dundas St. W., (416) 535-5585.
Photo courtesy of sleepydisco on Flickr.