chris atchison/metro toronto
Crush Wine Bar
455 King St. W.
Ambience: Crush’s simple, French bistro-styled decor and precise service carefully fuse fine dining and drinking in a refined atmosphere where sipping excellent vintages is preferred over pounding shots — that happens down the street. The pre-1950s jazz is loud enough to add a bit of spice to that glass of wine you’re enjoying, but not enough to overpower a conversation. Knowledgeable bartenders and servers will help you sift through their seemingly endless wine list to make a choice that best suits your palate, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy time with your drinking companion(s).
Crowd: It’s a predominantly corporate clientele that frequents Crush, but on weekends the faces get slightly younger (late 20s) as those tearing it up on the dating scene pay a visit to impress their prospective partners.
Dress code: Dress to impress, but don’t overdo it. A good portion of the clientele will be in their business-friendly finest, but others opt for a more casual look, especially for late evening drinks.
Should I dance on the bar?: Not unless you’re the reincarnation of Bacchus.
Will I get lucky?: The atmosphere is chic and friendly, the wine flows freely and the crowd is lively enough to provide a bit of table-side entertainment — you’ve got a great shot. Just keep in mind that you probably won’t meet anyone here, but as a date destination, Crush is a very sound option.
Best accessory: A friend who knows something about wine, but not a pretentious wine snob like Paul Giamatti’s character Miles from Sideways. Those people are repugnant.
Cocktail du jour: Being a wine bar it would probably be wise to recommend their selection of varietals from across the globe. The list is truly impressive and offers a nice range of price points for those on tighter budgets. But don’t rule out Crush’s martinis or their impressive top shelf scotch selection — both of which are worthy of your potentially inebriated attention.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to close, Monday through Friday; Saturday 5:30 p.m. until close.