It feels like you’ve stumbled into a secret Tokyo dive bar. The grimy yellow passageway hidden between the shops of Toronto’s Chinatown, suggests illicit goings-on, as does the red light above the door - the only sign that you’ve come to the right place. Finding it is half the fun, but come the weekend you can just follow the trail of drinkers.
Cold Tea rocks and Toronto knows it. Gaudy collages of 80's posters on the walls, wooden tables, red-hued lighting and the occasional piece of graffiti, though ‘stay sober’ seems wishful thinking.
Named after the trend for Chinese restaurants in Toronto to offer ‘cold tea’, as a code word for beer disguised in teapots, although funny that there’s no cold tea on the menu. They don’t have a cocktail list either, but just tell one of the awesome bartenders your fancy and they’ll whip you up something to cure your woes.
When it's quiet, regulars chat pop philosophy at the bar (“hipsters are the death of modern civilisation,” BarChick overheard) but at weekends the crowds get their dance on. The massive backyard secures its place as king of Kensington Market. And when you get peckish, just hit up Cindy in the corridor for some yummy dim sum for just $5 a pop.
The gang behind Cold Tea have reopened Mr Pong’s Bar up in Brockton Park and turned it into a proper party haunt... check it!