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A born-again saloon adds another notch to the west end’s bar belt


Concept: The denizens of Queen West West have yet another place to kick up their Converse. Adorned with an assortment of urban objets d’art and groovy garage sale finds—a bar fashioned from a gym floor or a vintage roulette wheel, say—Unit is the latest love child of the Drake-Gladstone baby boom, which has heretofore borne such sexy siblings as The Social, The Beaconsfield and Lot 16.

Crowd: Once a saloon favoured by local railroad workers, the address now attracts an altogether different sort of chain gang—the sidewalk-populating, du Maurier Extra Light–puffing variety. Soulful, minimal dance music keeps the indie rug cutters toward the back on their feet, while a more sophisticated set occupies the bar area.

Cocktails: The lack of draft may cause momentary malaise, but after a guava martini ($10) or two—a juicy blend of vodka, guava nectar and sweet vermouth—even the burliest of beer drinkers will be toasting the joys of gentrification.

Unit, 1198 Queen St. W., 416-537-6646. Wednesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover.

From the 2007 Edition of Toronto Life Magazine.