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NEW IN BUSINESS (JANUARY 2017): Strictly local

January 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

Craft beer pint of choice

PHOTO BY GEREMY BORDONARO/GLEANER NEWS: Fans of the Victory Café, which will soon close to make way for the Mirvish Village development, need not despair. Owner Nick Ndreka has opened the Crafty Coyote on Bloor Street West. The bar boasts the same selection of craft beer and rustic atmosphere, and emphasizes its location with a sign emblazoned with the words The Annex.

By Geremy Bordonaro

Founded over 15 years ago, The Vic, as the Victory Café is known to its patrons, will soon close. Like all businesses on Markham Street from Lennox to Bloor streets, it is making way for the Mirvish Village redevelopment. But local lovers of craft beer need not despair: owner Nick Ndreka is opening Crafty Coyote, a new bar at 511 Bloor St. W.

The concept is simple. Present a large selection of craft beer and let them stand out.

“We are different from other bars in the area. We’ve got 33 rotating taps, four rotating ciders, and a large selection of Ontario wines,” Ndreka said. “That makes all the difference. We’re different from everybody else.”

“The Annex has a beautiful population. It’s a wealthy neighbourhood in that way. And there’s nothing like us”—Nick Ndreka, owner

Most craft drinkers look for a different beer every time and a large rotating tap will easily satiate even the most tenured craft beer drinker.

“There’s been a demand. The Ontario craft beer industry has been growing for quite some time now,” he explained. “Every day a new brewery comes along. We don’t know when that’s going to end but so far it has been pretty good.”

As for the neighbourhood, the Annex provides a perfect demographic of patrons for a bar like the Crafty Coyote.

“The Annex has a beautiful population. It’s a wealthy neighbourhood in that way. And there’s nothing like us,” Ndreka said. “When summer comes by perhaps we’ll be getting the patio and operating fully. We add a lot of flavour to the neighbourhood.”

Unfortunately, operations have not been without their twists and turns as the aforementioned patio was previously rejected by the community when the city conducted a poll of neighbouring residents who were concerned that Crafty Coyote’s east face on Borden Street would lead to late night noise during the summer hours.

“Patios are always a thorny thicket. In fact, we have a patio protocol,” said Gus Sinclair, chair of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association. “We try to advise how best to go about it. Almost always it has to involve extra consideration, especially when a flanking patio is concerned.”

Though the patio request was initially denied by the community, Sinclair doesn’t believe that this means that the community will reject it again. He characterizes the community as being involved with the businesses and downtown hustle of the surrounding areas.

“We all live downtown where you can get your food by walking to it. We want to live near restaurants and bookstores. And that’s what makes downtown, downtown,” he said. “If we wanted nothing like that we’d move to the burbs. We value our businesses and want them to prosper. All that we ask is that proper consideration is put in place when you operate within our community.”

This sentiment is echoed by Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), who believes striking the right compromise is key.

“In downtown Toronto we have a vision for mixed-use neighbourhoods. That means it is not only an entertainment zone but also a residential zone. What you need to do is work together to find a balance. So I would encourage the Crafty Coyote to work with the local community.”

Though this hiccup may slow down the Crafty Coyote slightly, Ndreka is still optimistic about the bar’s future.

“At some point we’d like to expand with two more locations within the city of Toronto,” he said. “The city is large enough for us to be there. Just for our name. We’re ‘craft’, we stand up to the big guys. We’re just local, strictly.”



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