Tuesday’s are sacred for me. They’re my day. It’s the one consistent day that I have childcare help (until we a find part-time daycare or nanny) and they have become a highlight in my week in that I can leave the condo for almost the whole day and work, or meet a friend, or even treat myself to a solo lunch or even, gasp, a mid-day beer if I so choose.
Even though I might have a block of 4-5 hours of me-time on a Tuesday, I always choose to stay local, usually somewhere within walking distance or a short streetcar ride, so that I can home quickly if needed but also to take advantage of the amazing local businesses in our trendy Toronto neighbourhood.
Why We Love Local
My family and I love supporting small business because they bring economic growth and creative ideas to our communities. A lot of times, they help to employ people with niche talents and abilities and allow for individuals to shine and not be overpowered by large corporations. I’ve always felt that small businesses care about their customers and provide an experience — as a consumer — where I would much rather spend my money.
Recently, I ventured up to the Danforth to visit Barhop Sessions, courtesy of Moneris. I was paired with this local restobar thanks to their #MonerisMatch program. I’ve been to the flagship Barhop restaurant on King St. West, but had no idea that 2 additional locations have popped up in the past few years since I worked in the core.
Barhop Sessions is the 3rd location from owner Jim. The focus of BHS was a real neighbourhood, family-friendly type vibe. Offering live music, Sunday Jazz Brunch, Buck-a-Shuck (always popular in my book), and an overall cool spot that locals would discover on their own and become regulars at.
As I waited to chat with Jim, my server, Peter, presented me with the extensive beer list. (They’re called Barhop for a reason, people.) Clearly overwhelmed by the options, Peter advised me to, “Go by styles, not names, because names are stupid.” I asked him if I could quote that and he said yes, so there you go, Peter 😀
Jim, the owner, is a pretty nice human. He was super easy to talk to and is obviously very proud of his new locale. I asked him about the name, and he said that Barhop Sessions has two distinct meanings: 1) Beer 2) Music
He created BHS as a place for people to come, chill out, and stay awhile, with taps and tunes to match.
The interior was designed to take on the characteristic of the people coming in. There is a large living plant wall, lots of gorgeous wood features, a summer patio and small stage in the back. He wanted an organic look and vibe that didn’t appear contrived, and that could grow organically with the space.
In case the awesome vibe and friendly staff weren’t enough to pique your interest, then their food menu should. I ordered the Bone Marrow Poutine (drool), the Fish and Chips (catch of the day was sole, and the fish is encrusted with a Rice Krispie and Ruffles potato chip mix), and Jim ordered the Burger so I could “take a photo of something green” haha.
There were about 15 things on the menu I wanted to try, but since I was there by myself I only ordered 2…. full-size meals LOL.
Key Family Features
- Great Kid’s Menu Options
- Spacious table seating and room for strollers
- High chairs available on site
- Change table in the men’s washroom!!!! (Major bonus points here)
At the end of the day (or middle of the day, in my case) I want to go somewhere I am comfortable, know I will be treated like a regular, and have a delicious meal or bevvie to make the most of my solo time or even family time. Especially now that we have kids, we choose places were we know the quality of service and level of enjoyment is as important as the delicious food. Barhop Sessions is one of those places.
Thank you to Moneris who introduced me to this amazing neighbourhood spot. Though it was awesome to go there as a solo treat, I can’t wait to bring my family next time!
What do you look for when choosing a restaurant for your family? Food? Service? Accessibility? Share with me in the comments!