The Reveal 2015 - H Bar

By Stephanie Dickison

The Gist

Kate Hancock and Phil Hubbeard met while working at The Ballroom. Both worked in different places in both the kitchens as well as front-of-the-house. Over the years, they realized how polarized these areas were and how it was affecting the overall operations of the restaurant. They wanted to create a place with more of a "family atmosphere," Hancock says. And they did, bringing many of the people they’ve worked with over the years to their new spot. The menu and drinks is all about as much handmade and local Ontario product as possible. Even the craft beers are from around here. Downstairs is for casual dining while the upstairs offers a sports bar feel.

Grub

Hancock says "I can scramble an egg, but leave it to Phil. He has got fantastic cooking skills."  The menu features homemade pub fare such as wings, sliders, sandwiches, burgers and main, along with dessert and brunch items. All breads are homemade and even the slider buns, pickles and condiments are made in house. Seasonal items have included homemade Guinness ice cream, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Every ounce of everything is used – take the bar, for example. Fruit is zested, then juiced, sugar and crystalized. Produce is ordered from 100km Foods Inc., who work with local farms such as Hewitts Dairy amongst others, bringing local farmers products into the city and making them accessible for restaurants like H Bar.

Libations

New twists on old classics, created by Hubbeard, use local ingredients such as the Tag 5 Vodka from Oakville and Georgian Bay Gin from Concord (Hubbeard spent part of his childhood in Georgian Bay) featured in the Toronto Island Iced Tea ($9.73). Housemade bitters and housemade preserved cherries make their way into drink such as the H Bar Old Fashioned ($11.73) along with Four Roses Bourbon, vanilla sugar, and orange peel. Teatinis ($9.07) made with house-infused vodkas and gins are a fun option too. Beer lovers can choose from tall boys, cans and draft, featuring lots of local breweries. Cider is also available.  All wines are form the Niagara region.

‘Hood

Queen West/Trinity Bellwoods

Deets

With an intimate setting downstairs of 24 and a sports bar feel upstairs with room for up to 36, the restaurant is suitable for everything from casual lunch, dinner, drinks and brunch on the weekends. Rustic boards line the wall and clean lines allow the food to be the focus. The partially open kitchen was designed because "we don't want to hide anything," Hubbeard says.

Fixtures & Fittings

The space is truly a family affair. Hancock and Hubbeard renovated the space along with friends and family in just three weeks. Derry, Phil’s brother-in-law cut all the wood, making all the tables and menu boards (each is completely one-of-a-kind). Kate’s Dad had made her stained glass windows for her house, which are featured in the sports bar area upstairs now. He also made her lights out of hand blown mason jars. And Kate’s parent’s friends let her take some reclaimed wood.

Off the Menu

  • Fried Jalapeño Poppers ($7.95) are double breaded, stuffed with goat cheddar, aged cheddar and goat chèvre and deep fried. They also happen to be gluten-free.
  • Sliders (3 for $12.40) are done in-house along with the buns and served with a choice of vegetable chips, gaufrette potatoes or fresh cut fries and aioli. The sirloin is a chuck/brisket mix, Ontario bison comes with H Bar custom mixed and roasted coffee BBQ sauce, and Breaded Chicken with maple aioli and coleslaw. Buns are made in house and are a mix of white, oat and honey oat.
  • Seasonal Entrees such as Pan-Seared Perch ($14.60) allows Chef Hubbeard to indulge in his love of high end food and “fancier ingredients,” but still make it approachable. Done simply with butter, lemon wilted spinach and arugula, a little bit of aioli, fried veg chips and rhubarb chutney.

How Cool is This?!

H Bar does up fantastic food-filled picnic baskets with meats, cheeses, drinks and rolls (vegetarian options are also available)  that are ready for taking to the park across the street or down to the water’s edge. All food items, including pickles and spreads, are prepared in house. p.s. a $10 refundable deposit is required. At the Stove: Chef Phil Hubbeard FOH: Kate Hancock and Melissa Monaghan Head Honchos: Co-Owners Kate Hancock and Phil Hubbeard

Visiting Hours

Sunday-Wednesday 1:00pm -12:00am Thursday-Friday 11:00am-1:00am Saturday 11:00-2:00am Map It: 859 Queen St. W. (at Niagara) Phone It In: (647) 352-4227 Check out our Facebook page for more photos.

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