Robert from east of here (somewhere around Ottawa I think):
so, was just desperately scouring the interwebs for any advice on shopping for bar tools in Toronto when I happened along your blog. the blog is awesome btw.
it would seem that you might be my last hope as the interwebs have proved fruitless. I spent the last two days going here and there, all around TO, to all sorts of places you’d figure would carry things like Hawthorne strainers, Julep strainers, jigger, muddlers, Boston shakers, bitters (don’t even get me started!), bar spoons, mixing glasses etc..
I have a few hours left tomorrow afternoon to find… everything?anything.. thanks in advance for any advice you could pass along to a very weary traveller!”
You can try Kitchen Stuff Plus at 703 Yonge St. (one block south of Bloor St.) for some bar gear. They have a lovely selection of OXO knives, some juicers and other odds and ends. Williams-Sonoma has some stuff too but they’re pricey and overrated. A stand at the St. Lawrence Market sells my favorite shaker, the Oxo Stainless Steel, in the basement area (look for the stand with all of the kitchen gear; they’ll have other stuff too).
Dinetz at 231 King St. East (just west of Sherbourne St.) has pretty much everything you might want. While you’re in the east end, you can always check out Nella Cutlery at 433 Queen St. East. They mostly service restaurants and the like but their store may very well interest you. If you want to go a bit further afield, try out Cayne’s in Thornhill. They kind of remind me of those ads you see in the Sun but you can’t argue with the prices.
I’ve never shopped here but every time I pass by Calphalon (425 King St. West, just west of Spadina Ave.) they always have spiffy tool displays in the window. Seeing as they supply Williams-Sonoma, they’re probably pricey but they might be cheaper than shopping at the latter. Hell, even if you don’t buy anything, I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon.
For bitters, you’re pretty much out of luck if you’re looking for anything but Angostura. The Toronto Institute of Bartending carries Fee Brothers but that’s it. Their store is located at 487 Adelaide St. West (just west of Portland St.). The LCBO carries three types of four types of Amaro, Campari, Cynar, Fernet-Branca and Unicum but I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for. Be sure to check the website because not all stores will carry them.
On a side-note, you can find lots of fun stuff at Value Village, particularly glassware, and its cheap. Don’t buy crystal; it’s going to break anyway.