Patrons covet patio at Czehoski - Metro US

Patrons covet patio at Czehoski

chris atchison/metro toronto

Czehoski used to be a butcher shop, our columnist says.


678 Queen St. W.



Ambience: For more than 75 years Queen West residents have visited Czehoski for meats and cold cuts. But recently the butcher shop underwent a complete transformation from provider of everything filleted and processed, to hip dining and drinking establishment. The interior preserves many of the original design notes — most notably the hardwood flooring and the meat cooler — but Czehoski is largely unrecognizable from its historic origins. That doesn’t seem to bother the cooler-than-thou crowd who make the venue’s three floors a prime spot for sipping trendy cocktails and delving into the interestingly-organized and eclectic menu. The space is regularly jammed, while tables on the upstairs patio are a highly coveted and often difficult-to-acquire draw in summer.

Crowd: Exactly what you might imagine — hipsters and Queen West trendsetters who enjoy making a statement as much with their looks as with their in-the-know banter. Mixed among them you’ll find the odd corporate type looking for an alternative to the usual for a business meeting, as well as couples making use of the date-friendly environment.

Dress code: You won’t be turned away for dressing down, but expect to find a wide range of outfits — everything from $300 jeans, ironic T-shirts and flip-flops, to suits. You’ll feel comfortable with a sartorial compromise somewhere in the middle.

Should I dance on the bar? Said action would be considered very un-hip.

Will I get lucky? There’s a chance, especially when things get busy at the upstairs bar or on the patio.

Best attitude to ensure a fun evening: Relaxed — the service, especially in the restaurant, tends to be more leisurely than at other venues. Patience and an affinity for people-watching should guarantee an enjoyable experience.

Cocktail du jour: The cocktail list is interesting and features some old standards such as the Negroni, the Harvey Wallbanger and the Bellini (thankfully without the slush!). The wine list is quite comprehensive and prices by-the-bottle are reasonable with a good selection at the lower end of the price spectrum. Beer lovers will enjoy Czehoski’s wide range of import and micro-brews, while they also have Labatt 50 on tap for those with more traditional tastes.

Hours: Lunch (11:45 a.m. Monday to Friday; 11 a.m. on weekends) to 2 a.m. throughout the week.


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