The roaring ’20s (or at least some version of them) have been roaring back for the last few years, with TV shows like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and movies like the upcoming Baz Luhrmann take on The Great Gatsby. A new east end bar, Sauce on the Danforth, is hoping to capitalize on that interest. Owned and operated by Michelle Belisle and Johnny Lucien, the speakeasy-inspired room is open late, and showcases a collection of 1920s cocktails, craft beers, tapas and live music.
Located near the Greenwood subway station, Sauce is a bit of an oddity on this slowly changing stretch of the Danforth. Belisle describes the bar’s interior as “Victorian goth bordello chic.” She and Lucien were heavily influenced by the aesthetics of New Orleans’s French Quarter (one of the pair’s favourite travel destinations), and as a result, the bar sports glossy black wood panelling, vintage furniture and walls coated in a vibrant hue called Louisiana Hot Sauce. A 1920s player piano (with vintage piano rolls) holds pride of place in the corner of the bar’s lounge, and starting today, pianist Julien Fauth will be tickling the ivories from 5–8 p.m. every Tuesday. There’s also a small front patio and plans to transform the bar’s back lot into a year-round heated patio complete with an outdoor bar.
Sauce on the Danforth’s cocktail menu (all $9.25 for a double shot) is dominated by vintage favourites like brandy and whiskey sours and the French 75 (gin, champagne, simple syrup and lemon juice), although more contemporary alcoholic beverages (like Caesars) can also be found. To the delight of east end beer buffs, Sauce offers 17 craft beers on tap (prices vary brand to brand), with a rotating brew offered for $5 a pint every evening from Monday through Thursday. Chef Carolyn Hogg (formerly of Three’s Company) serves a variety of finger-friendly foods, like daily cheese plates ($15 for a three-person serving or $25 for five) and dishes like prosciutto and herb cream cheese–wrapped asparagus ($7) and garlic-crusted chili shrimp ($8). Belisle and Hogg are currently developing a cutlery-free Sunday brunch menu that is set to make its debut later this week.