The Bar Tour 2012 concept is something I came up with while in London, Ontario for an old friend’s 40th birthday party. I was at a craft beer bar (I had no idea such a thing existed in a town I assumed was owned by Labbatt) when a man, a few inches shorter than me, wearing a sparkly party hat grabbed my arm (luckily not the one I was holding my glass of Pre-Divinity from Flying Monkeys with) and said “Holy Shit! A Sneaky Dee’s tattoo!”. I responded: “Yeah dude, you must be from Toronto, I’m Josh, it’s nice to meet you.” and shook his hand.

“From Toronto? Dude, I own Sneaky Dee’s”.

So George, the owner of the most renowned “beers, shots, and food” bar in Toronto is hanging out with a guy who’s known as (amongst other things) a cocktail bartender from one of the best restaurants in Canada at a craft beer bar in London. Why is this so rare? Why can’t everyone just enjoy everyone else’s niches, at least now and then, in a friendly way?

On the drive back the next day, I petitioned the other riders in the car as to whether the idea of booking a tour of Toronto bars, with no regard for style, specialty, level of service etc… would be a good or bad idea. They seemed supportive. That night I had band practice. The guys in the band seemed excited about it. I had enough confidence to ask both Mike Webster and Christina Kuypers. They said they thought it was a good idea.

I started the first tour I’ve booked since 2004 and this is what I’ve come up with.

August 31stBoreal Gelato (First Year Anniversary Party)
September 2nd– Trish and Mike’s Wedding- Eginridge Resort, Fenlon Falls, ON
September 5thSalt Wine Bar (Wine Flight Wednesday)
September 6thDrake Hotel (TIFF/ Sailor Jerry Promo)
September 9th– Holly and Frank’s Wedding, 1032 Shirley St., Winthrop MA
September 12thWilson 96 (Whisk(e)y Wednesday)
September 16th– Emilia and Brett’s Wedding, Church on Berkley
September 17thYours Truly
September 18thCocktail Bar
September 19th1602 Dundas St. W. (Hi-5 Championship Qualifiers)
September 24thChurchill (Tasty F*ckin’ Jams)
September 26thToronto Temperance Society

You should probably note that at no point do I plan on walking into one of these bars and doing things “my” way. The purpose of doing this is to promote each bar/restaurant/party’s individual strengths. Y’know, what they are all about. Along the way, I will get to see how many different bar/restaurant/party spaces run their show and possibly apply some of these tricks to Gwai Lo when we open. It is rare that a bartender will find himself with a month or so off.

If you are reading this and run a bar/restaurant/event space and think you might want to be a part of this, please contact me, either through here or my twitter account. I’d be happy to learn from you and hopefully bring some people out.

Bartenders serve people.