“WINE” trumpets a square white sign jutting out of a building at the bustling corner of Bayview and Belsize, where scores of people float off the sidewalk and down to The Daughter, a boutique natural wine bar and bottle shop that opened in late 2022.
Every part of The Daughter’s airy, Japanese and Nordic-inspired space draws you deeper inside. A long, polished limestone bar is the eye-catching centrepiece, with walkways on either side flowing like a river around a rock. Patrons play reverse whack-a-mole with small-batch bottles poking out of cubbies in the wall.
Score a seat here and you’ll notice there’s no wine list. Instead, bartenders quiz you on your mood, taste preference and price point before spinning around, clinking through a few bottles and returning with an aptly chosen pour. And if you love the glass, you can pick up a whole bottle on your way out.
“We're really focused on having our customers try natural wines and widen their horizons,” says owner and chef Marissa Goldstein. Along with beverage director and general manager Lauren Wilkins, Goldstein stays on the pulse of what’s new, exciting and funky in the natural wine world. They collaborate with suppliers near and far to stock The Daughter’s shelves and cellars with delicious, accessible wines.
Serves and bottles are transient at The Daughter, likely to be soon replaced by what’s jumping out to Goldstein and Wilkins. “When people come and ask for a wine, if they're not getting that exact wine, we can recommend something that we know is going to hit with them. Or, give them something that they've never tasted before,” she grins.
While wine bar-cum-bottle shops are treasured by sip- and snack-loving downtown gastronomes, they’re harder to find north of Bloor — but not for a lack of appetite (or thirst). At less than a year old, The Daughter is no stranger to being packed wall-to-wall by chatty urbanites downing unfiltered vino. And with Goldstein and Wilkins’s passion for natural wine at the helm, it’s not hard to see why.
The Daughter: Food
While small-plate wine bar classics like beef tartare, charcuterie, feta dips and foie gras are served until 10 p.m., the real star is the challah from Thornhill’s Bagel Nash. It’s hand-picked by Goldstein, toasted and served with butter, honey or ricotta. The challah is scrumptious on its own, but Goldstein takes it one step further and creates dishes like an open-faced heirloom tomato sandwich with anchovy mayo and shaved cured egg yolks. For a juicy meat option, try their new sticky, spicy glazed short rib with a Jerusalem artichoke purée and cucumber jalapeño salsa.
The Daughter: Wine
“We have our classic red section, our one-litre bottles section, and what new stuff we have coming in,” explains Wilkins of their natural wine wall. Bottles range from easy and approachable to fun and funky, and if you’re unsure of which to take to-go, simply ask a bartender. Or, browse bottles from home at their new online store, where you can get a delicious pour delivered right to your front doorstep.
The Daughter: Cocktails
Not feeling wine today? Try a made-to-order manhattan, negroni or martini, or ditch the stemmed glass altogether and sample suds from local breweries like Burdock and Godspeed to quench your craving.