Sarah’s Café and Bar (website, Twitter)
1426 Danforth Avenue, Toronto ON M4J 1N4 (on the north side, at the corner of Monarch Park Avenue, the nearest major intersection is Coxwell Avenue and Danforth Avenue) 416-406-3121
A diamond in the rough.
Similar to our odyssey to the Gull and Firkin, my husband had hurt his Achilles tendon and was having difficulty walking. A friend had recommended the One in the Only Cafe on the Danforth to us, so we decided to check it out. We walked out after five minutes of sitting in the dark and being ignored by the staff. Perhaps we weren’t hip enough? We then went east to Seanachai, which used to be The Hargrave, which was closed that Sunday afternoon. We pressed our faces against the dirty windows and it looked like it was no longer in business (it’s now Rails and Ales). The one time we had been there, they weren’t serving food, even though it was dinnertime. On we trod and decided to go with something reliable.
Sarah’s is a diamond in the rough, near dives/greasy spoons/regulars-only places called Big Ronnie’s and Jane’s Happy Bar. Sarah’s follows the trend in that it has a person’s name in its title, but the similarities end there. Sarah’s is the type of place you could take your date or your mum. (Let’s put it this way, one of the times I was in Sarah’s, I was sitting beside a lesbian couple who were quietly dividing their assets post break-up.) I’ve been to Sarah’s a number of times over the years and it’s always a good time for me, not necessarily my nearby seating companions.
Sarah’s is very bohemian with big windows, lots of cushions, velvet-covered lampshades, and tables with fancy inlay. Strangely, it doesn’t look like the interior shots on the website, which seems misleading. The kitchen is front and centre, so you can try to see the progress of your dinner order. The place can get very busy late at night, but there is also a room in the back, so check that to see if there might be a spot for your group.
Number of visits by yours truly: five or six, most recently on a Sunday afternoon in early June 2011
TTC information: Greenwood Station or Coxwell Station. Looking at the map, it’s equidistant between the two
Booze selection: lots and lots to choose from, 13 on taps and 70 in bottles — with a Belgian focus — including pear cider (no Pimm’s). Like most places that boast a selection this large, be sure to have a back-up choice when ordering. They also have an extensive wine list
Food selection: the fancier and eclectic end of pub grub, such as cheese platters and mussels, but not a lot of selection. Apparently, Sarah’s also does catering
Service staff: very friendly, but can be slow
Toilets: two unisex and both leave something to be desired. The wheelchair-access toilet is better than the all-access one, in there my friend hit her head on the hand dryer as she was standing up. My beloved grandmother would not have approved
Patio: two, one to the west and one to the south of building. The west one has a cover and both are of a decent size
Wheelchair accessible: one of the toilets is accessible with railings
Televisions: one in the back room that I have never seen turned on
Live music: open mic every Sunday afternoon
Piped-in music: The Smiths
Rating: five pints (out of five)