The little Boutique Bar is promoting their place with guest DJ’s and encouraging more people to drop in. Local DJ Relentless has spun there, along with the likes of djadamt and DJ Vinny daVinci, with more DJ’s on the horizon.

You might think of Boutique Bar at 506 Church St. as a summer place, as in the warmer weather the terrace is crowded and a great vantage point to look out onto the street. But in other seasons, it maintains a part of the summer terrace nicely closed-in and heated, like a sort of chic Church St. box fort.

In between Blyss and Tango/Crews, it is set back and has two sets of five steps up, but if you can navigate these, there are a lot of reasons this is a place to drop by all year round. As you enter, the wall is decorated with rave reviews that are framed and appreciated. Inside, I could instantly tell that old friends and happy times had occurred there. It’s quite small, but feels expansive.

The interesting thing about the winter version of Boutique Bar is the clever economy of space accommodating furniture and people. Guests are seated at tables along one wall, sharing each other’s company with a pleasant element of intimacy, while candles flicker at their tables. Others are at the bar only feet away, a glowing display that’s a cross between a fireplace hearth and a chandelier. There is warm exposed brick on the wall and the bar has tiny cool one-inch gold and silver tiles.

The actual thing to know about this place is that it is famous for its gourmet cocktails. The friendly waiter will hand you a menu with a drinks list on it. It will have ingredients that you will want to read aloud. If you aren’t there with a friend you mustn’t do this because it’s a nice sophisticated bar, but you can move your lips.

An example is the Vieux Carre, which is made with rye whiskey, brandy, red vermouth, dashes of Benedictine, Peychaud and Angostura bitters. Envision shy, robed monks sipping drinks with curious GoGo dancers. The owner, Julien Salomone, studied mixology in France, and his cocktails are brilliant and unique. He stocks rare liqueurs, aloe vera juice as a mixer, and offers sparkling wine-based cocktails as well as classic cocktails that you won’t encounter in a typical bar.

There is also a very good wine list, but one which runs quite reasonably from $19 to $31 a bottle. Trust the choices. The idea is to try things out. Hopefully patrons will build their taste vocabulary with each visit, encouraging other guests to become more educated in subtle, nuanced flavours that sincere connoisseurs want you to experience for yourself. There are wine-based and sparkly cocktails as well as cocktails made with gin, bourbon or whiskey. All the names are fascinating-sounding. The list invites return “try out” trips, while several read literally like a trip to another place, such as the Cactus or the French 75.

The finger foods there are intended to compliment the drinks: instead of a meal, there are olives, peanuts, a cheese selection plate, or an assiette de charcutterie for two. If you got away with a loud outside voice on the summer terrace, find there is a very peaceful vibe inside the winter space. The closed-in patio also has small lamps flickering on tables. There are hooks for coats. I thought they were a bit high, so if you insist on hanging your coat up  you might as well wear your favourite one, as it will swing there like a piece of obscure modern art and the demure lighting will make it look more beautiful than it may deserve.

This is a great place on Friday nights just past dinner hour, when nice professional people are there relaxing. There are however, also themed nights that become more high-energy, and the Boutique Bar is always a good gathering place for accommodating groups.

Reservations are welcome, walk-ins okay too. In the summer the people-watching on the terrace makes this a great spot to be outdoors, but when the weather turns, come check out the congenial and warm atmosphere within.

About the Author

SK Dyment has been a cartoonist and illustrator for many years and has been published in over two dozen Canadian indy magazines and journals. SK loves sketching passing interpretations of intriguing people in pen-and-ink, and is often seen attending various activist-oriented events around Toronto. He is also available for quick illustrations of all sorts as well as more serious forms of illustration. SK Dyment maintains a website @