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Restaurant review: The Commoner Bar Room, Little Italy

The Commoner gets a cool younger sister with moody furnishings, finger-lickingly good share platters and some of Little Italy's most inventive cocktails.

The Commoner Bar Room: What's the deal

The Commoner Roncy quickly established itself as a neighbourhood fave since opening in 2018, with its sleek design and a strong showing of local craft beer. Now comes The Commoner Bar Room on the bustling College Street strip, its hip younger sibling and Toronto's new destination for classy pre-drinks, group dinners and patio hangs. 

Joining a slew of great eateries and bars in Little Italy like Bar Raval (one of our favourite design-led drinking dens) and Toronto newcomer Buena Copa, the low-key restaurant certainly has its work cut out.

Luckily, thanks to a combination of pub-style share plates done to perfection, an inviting bar that just dares you to have one more, plus a charming back patio that'll tempt even the coldest souls to dine al fresco, The Commoner Bar Room has plenty of reasons to eschew its neighbours and linger a little longer. 

The Commoner Bar Room: What to drink

While The Commoner Roncy is known for its extensive beer list, Bar Room offers a more concise selection of local ales (Henderson, Blood Brothers), alongside some international bottles and cans. If apples are more your thing, deviate from hops with the East Street Landmark Dry Cider from Goderich, Ontario. As it turns out, you can compare apples to apples – order it with the house-baked apple pie and thank us later. 

The wine list travels south of the border and across the Atlantic, with lots of options by the glass and bottle to marry with all that good pub grub (and plenty of help deciding thanks to knowledgable staff). 

When it comes to classic cocktails, Bar Room has all the hits. However, if you're not feeling a Manhattan or a Negroni, ask the bartender to shake you up something special. When we told the Alo alumni that we're big gin and tequila guys, we were rewarded with our own perfectly balanced creation.  

The Commoner Bar Room: What to eat

Though there are a few leafy exceptions (tuna niçoise, power bowl), the Commoner Bar Room's cornbread and butter is comfort food. With tantalizing menu items like buffalo cauliflower, truffle fries and chicken schnitzel to mull over, it's safe to say this is a cheat day.

If you're finding it hard to choose between all that delicious, order the Commoner Board, a platter showcasing the best of the menu. Saucy braised beef sliders, fall-off-the-bone ribs that you don't need teeth to eat, and succulent, dream-worthy honey chicken are just a few of the reasons why we're planning our next trip back. 

614 College St, Toronto; 416 530 1881; thecommonerrestaurant.ca/bar-room

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