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Introducing: Hrvati Bar, Koreatown’s new Croatian watering hole (with a menu by Rodney Bowers)

A little slice of Zagreb in Koreatown (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Rodney Bowers is a busy man. In addition to launching his Little Italy meatball shop, Hey Meatball!, a couple weeks back, he’s designed the menu at Hrvati Bar, a Bavarian-style beer hole with a Croatian twist. Standing out from Koreatown’s bulgogi and soon tofu houses—in part thanks to a giant standing sign with Glagolitic script—the bar has a pared-down food menu, keeping much of the focus on the beer. The interior was designed by Brenda Bent (a.k.a. Susur Lee’s better half), who’s created a space that’s both lively and intimate, with nods to Croatia spotted on the walls, beer barrels dotted about and a 14-foot, custom-made communal table in the middle of it all.

Bucking the current local microbrew craze, Hrvati opts for a more Eurocentric beer list, serving many of its careful selection in large, satisfying steins ($5-$10). The current best seller is Ožujsko ($7.50), a Croatian lager whose label boasts its own popularity; Karlovačko, also Croatian, is due to arrive shortly. At present the bar is celebrating Oktoberfest, serving four of the official Bavarian beers currently being downed in Munich: Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Löwenbräu and Paulaner. (Indeed, this Saturday—the final weekend of this year’s fest—those beers will be served exclusively.)

Bowers’s menu is designed to be hearty enough to sop up the suds. The pljeskavica ($14) is a hormone-free Ontario beef hamburger dressed up with smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions and tomato, with sides of coleslaw and golden fries. The sausage platter ($12), or ćevapi, comes with sides of eggplant, roasted red peppers, sour cream and a buttered bun. And while vegetarians may feel a bit left out at present, we’re promised that a menu expansion is forthcoming—and as far as we’re aware, all the beers on offer are 100 per cent meat free.

Hrvati Bar, 690 Euclid Ave., 647-728-9936, hrvatibar.com

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  • Jeff E

    I’ve been here twice and must say the food is delicious and the selection of beers is fantastic. The inside is very cozy and has a great look. The staff are very friendly and I’m sure this bar will please anyone looking for an intimate location with a wide variety of beer to choose from.

  • GM

    Agreed – fantastic spot…was there last night! The food was authentic and delicious, the staff were amazing and the place boasts a great beer selection! I will definitely be back.

  • JS

    Were any actual Croatians/Slavs involved in the creation of this bar and menu?

    “The pljeskavica ($14) is a hormone-free Ontario beef hamburger dressed up with smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions and tomato, with sides of coleslaw and golden fries. The sausage platter ($12), or ćevapi, comes with sides of eggplant, roasted red peppers, sour cream and a buttered bun.”

    Smoked mozarella? Fries? Side of eggplant? Buttered bun? Huh?!

  • foodlover2

    The owners are Croatian, one of them is cooking the other can often be seen in the front.

  • Srebrenka

    After a theater performance at the Palmerstone Library (which is near by) the whole cast and much of the audience went to the bar for a drink and mingling. Needless to say we took over the place, but everybody who did not belong to our group joined in and a good time was had by all. The food is great even though some liberties are taken with the “authentic Croatian cuisine” which was more a “variation on the theme”. We all from the Histerioni Amateur Theatre recommend it highly
    Srebrenka

  • Wayel

    LOL!!! I aywlas say: Wishes won't wash dishes. :)I hope you have a great time and that you make it home safely!!

  • Michael

    It seems that the business is for sale for $125,000 — unless I came across a now defunct advertisement. MLS ID is C2481513. The advert begins as follows, “Profitable Restaurant & Beer Bar In The Heart Of The Annex.” How Euclid, north of Bloor, is the “Heart Of The Annex” I do not know, but there you have it.

 

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