In the heart of TIFF-town, tucked away on Adelaide Street, in the shadow of the Shangri-La Hotel sits Soho House Toronto. The 10,000 square-foot space has a permanent home on Bishops Block inhabiting a building dating back to the 1800s, which was restored, brick for brick. Each floor of Toronto’s exclusive members only club features Soho House Toronto’s unique art collection with standout pieces by international artists Jacob Kassay, JR and General Idea and Canadian artists Shry Boyle and Douglas Coupland.
On a sunny eve at the end of August I whisked my way up the Soho House staircase in search of a fine feast. I spun on my heels after arriving on the 2nd floor and paused at the entrance of the dining room. I immediately travelled back in time, it was two years ago when I first visited this very room while covering TIFF for Metro Newspaper. It was Harvey Weinstein’s August Osage County party that evening and Juliette Lewis was entertaining a group of men in a tight white frock, Taylor Swift was sitting at a booth sipping a lime spiked cocktail with a handsome tween in a tux while Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper and Ewan McGregor huddled around the wood fired oven nibbling on charcuterie and splashing vino to and fro. The moment was unforgettable and it all unraveled for me at the bar where I chatted with handsome Grey Goose bartenders, in awe of the scene before me.
I was joined at the table that evening by Sidewalk Hustle’s Hawley Dunbar and Tristan Banning. We plopped ourselves on a comfy bench by a window just as the sun was setting across the city. Ms. Dunbar is a member of Soho House and regularly calls Toronto’s iteration of the art-centric private club her home away from home. The duo have recently had the opportunity to explore Soho House properties via their travels to Berlin, Chicago, Miami and New York. Hawley chirps, “What I love most about all the houses around the world is you can visit any and feel totally at ease and at home. The creative energy fuels the house, a cocktail you adore will always be on the menu, and you’re likely to run into a familiar face more often than not.”
We spent the evening sipping cocktails and catching up over our busy summer travel adventures. Nibbles from the kitchen were courtesy of Italian born Chef Daniel Mezzolo. His menu offers an Italian flare (plump burrata, pillows of gnocchi, scorched pizza) as well as North American favourites with must try’s including a juicy swoon-worthy burger and sweet finish banana split.
1) Piscina Fresca | tromba reposado, strawberry peppercorn cordial, basil, citrus
2) Burrata | asparagus, radish, chili
3) Ricotta Gnocchi | pomodoro, basil
4) Burger | ontario aged cheddar, pickle, frites
5) Banana Split with Peanut Brittle