Church Aperitivo Bar. Located at Queen and Dovercourt, in an actual former church, this place is only a few weeks old but I’m pretty sure that it’s going to become a very popular due to its mellow atmosphere, group-friendly tables and great menu options.
Let’s start with the bar’s aesthetics. It has all of the interior design elements that I love: an exposed brick wall, a high ceiling that has exposed wood beams, a white/black/dark grey colour scheme, interesting lighting fixtures and tons of candles (for photos of the interior, as well as some of its food and drink options, check out this write-up over at TorontoLife.com.)
The look of this place helps to create an atmosphere that’s a sophisticated mellow. The crowd, slightly older and more mature than who you’d find at many of the neighboring establishments, also greatly contributes to this feeling. The people here clearly just want to visit with their friends; they aren’t here to show off or pick up. And while yes, some guys were in suits while some girls were in short dresses, this is the kind of place where you can get away with jeans and a nice top.
The bar's amazing cocktail menu likely also greatly contributes to this place’s mellowness. While prices aren’t cheap (check out the cocktail menu here), the drinks are very tasty and very boozy. The Divine Invention, a light, “clean” tasting drink, is the perfect cocktail to start off the night with while the Holy Caesar is the best Caesar that I’ve ever tried.
If fancy drinks aren’t your thing, a short but reasonably priced wine list is available, and there are several bars available on tap.
Just as delicious as the drinks is the food. We ordered the crostini plate, which for $12, gave us a basket of bread and our choice of four different toppings. While the topping portions are quite generous and ideal for sharing among four people, I do though wish that we’d be given more bread, in part because it was so tasty that I would have eaten it plain.
The meat plate was also ordered though as a non-meat eater, I just had the olives. But the others told me that it was quite good and worth the $18.
The full menu can be seen here. I’m quite interested in the cheese plate and think I’ll get it next time.
I do have mixed feelings on the service we received. While our waitress was attentive, she seemed a bit serious and didn’t quite match the overall feeling of the bar. We also had a mix up with crostini order, which was blamed on confusion with the kitchen. And of course, when it was time to get the bill, the waitress was nowhere to be found (which I found extra strange as people were coming in and then leaving because the place was full).
We left shortly after 11 pm. By then, the music, which had been played at conversation-friendly levels for the first couple hours, was louder and house-ier, thanks to the presence of a DJ who showed up around 10.
However, without a dance floor, I found the loud music a bit of a waste (though I did quite like what was being played).
If you’re interested in checking this place out, you might want to stop by Tuesday-Saturday, from 5 pm – 6:30 pm when light snacks are served free-of-charge to those who buy a drink.
Would I go again: Yes!
Should you go: Yes!