Paradise Grapevine: Toronto’s Bloorcourt welcomes a new wine and beer bar
Paradise Grapevine opened in July 2018, and west end natives are already calling this cozy spot their local. Open until 2 am every night; this casual drinkery has a laid-back energy which welcomes their patrons to relax in an outdoor oasis that seemingly transports you out of the bustling city. The back patio is indeed a Toronto gem. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s possible to walk right by, which gives it a speakeasy feel. A sandwich board on the sidewalk is the only notifier of what lies passed a very long narrow alleyway, and once you are in the back, you feel as though you have stumbled into a secret garden of sorts.
An authentic wine and beer bar. Paradise Grapevine has a selection of thoughtful wines and beers that are always changing. You may even discover a unique beer/wine concoction. The owners, Dave Everitt and Christian Davis have a lot of experience with beer, and they enjoy pushing the boundaries, exploring new ways to enjoy classics. Happy hour between 5pm-6pm will allow you to try the very best for under $10 a glass. Something for every palate, time of day, and mood.
841 Bloor Street West was home of Menalon Restaurant, a diner (or a dive) depending on whom you asked. They specialized in cheap and cheerful Greek fare and Chris, the owner, was a staple. After years of persuasion, Chris decided to retire and hand over the keys to two very persistent industry regulars, enter Everitt and Davis, two Bar Volo old-timers. A lick of paint and some new finishes but the old school feel remains. Not wanting to disrupt a place so full of character and memories, Paradise Grapevine was born, but insistent on keeping some Menalon roots intact, including the painted mural on the back patio. On that note, there were some raised eyebrows when they removed the kitchen.
Yes, they removed the kitchen, but do not distress. Paradise Grapevine specializes in small and affordable sharing plates, all sourced locally. Preserves, meat, truffle chips, cheese, cured meat, bread, semi-sundried tomatoes, peppers and more; essentially the perfect snacks to accompany a glass of vino or craft beer on a hot day. Whether you are looking for something salty, sweet, creamy or crunchy – they have just enough options to qualify as dinner depending on whom you ask.
Let's make one thing clear. You will not find pretentious here. This west end spot is casual, laid back and accepting of all drink lovers. Like many new bars that are popping up in the city, at Paradise Grapevine you order your drinks and food inside at the bar. A new movement which allows restaurants and bars to keep their overhead lower, and in turn, prices lower. A good stretch in between a pint isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the food will arrive at your table within minutes of ordering. The bar staff are friendly, warm and always ready with recommendations.
If you're feeling intimidated about peering down random long narrow alleyways at Bloor and Shaw, look for the painted ‘Paradise Grapevine’ signage on the front door, although not obvious with the bright yellow Menalon Restaurant sign hanging overhead the storefront – this will assure you, you're at the right place. And it will only take one visit to feel like a regular.
After boasting for an entire paragraph about the lush green, almost tropical back patio, I do wonder what this paradise will be like in the winter months. I recommend checking it out while the “grapevines” are still full and green. Although the patio is a huge draw for this new spot, I do believe there is potential for the interior to have a cozy retro feel in the colder months as well.
It’s very apparent that the Bloor West neighbourhood has welcomed Paradise Grapevine with open arms. Only a month of slinging pints and grapes, they are already boasting great reviews. The recipe for success may be simple - just good wine, beer and tasty snacks that have the potential to make a killer charcuterie board.