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Introducing: Archive, a casual new wine bar on Dundas West

Introducing: Archive

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Unlike the tony wine bars of yore, which targeted the suits-and-heels crowd, Archive, which opened last month, is situated on the more dressed-down strip of Dundas West that’s home to The Black Hoof and Saving Grace (the bar’s next-door neighbour). The owners, brothers Joel and Josh Corea (Pizzeria Libretto, Ortolan), took over the exposed brick–clad space formerly home to vintage shop Apt. 909, and outfitted it with custom banquettes and high school science lab stools as well as a series of wine maps and charts, to create what they hope will become a cozy after-work destination.

The majority of the bar’s drink list is devoted to wines from Ontario, which are available in three- and five-ounce pours, as well as by the whole bottle. Particular favourites of the Coreas include Norman Hardie’s unfiltered chardonnay ($14 for five ounces) and Philippe Viret Renaissance ($16 for five ounces), a red whose producers follow a slightly kooky grape-growing and winemaking method they call cosmoculture (cosmic energy is involved). The menu, which was developed with the help of Ian Liepurts (Pizzeria Libretto) and Wendy Ma (Enoteca Sociale), is focused on small plates called cicchetti (Josh discovered them on a trip to Venice, where workers flood into wine bars for a glass and a snack before heading home for dinner). There are about 10 variants on rotation, including baccalà mantecato (creamed, dried cod), chestnut and speck and white bean and anchovy ($4 for three). They’re also serving Portuguese salt cod and potato fritters called pasteis de bacalhau ($5 for three), a nod to both the neighbourhood and the brothers’ Portuguese roots.

Archive, 909 Dundas St. W., 647-748-0909, @archive909

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  • foodnetworklowersstandards

    it must be cold in there…the beard behind the counter needs to wear a toque!

  • wine

    what difference does it make that the guy is wearing a toque? Does it affect your life in anyway? Is your life that pathetic that you actually take time to comment on people’s personal style? I assume you are no longer in high school, grow up and get a life.

  • Humber Bay

    wine…yikes, bit of an overreaction, no? Are you the guy with the toque?

    I personally don’t care about the toque…my eyebrows were raised over the price of wine…WOW. $16 for FIVE ounces? On the “more dressed down” strip of Dundas St. W? Good luck with that.

  • JimJames

    He’s serving food so he has to keep his hair covered. It’s Dundas west, leave the hipster alone.

    I was in the other night and yes, there are some wines that will run you $15 or $16 per glass, but there are also plenty of wines that are in the $7-$10 range.

  • foodnetworklowersstandards

    man oh man people take life tooooo seriously. a little joke about a toque, imagine that. i’m all for hair control but that must be awfully warm (and not very clean) chef’s tend to wear disposable paper toque blanche.

    back to the issue at hand, there are many great wines out there and priced per 5 ounces can be steep-regardless of where the bar is located. i would be happy to pay $20 a glass for something i can swallow than swill something for $7 that leaves me wretching.

  • wine

    Humber Bay, just sick of needless comments. Also if you understood restaurant pricing the reason why the glass of wine is 16 bucks is probably because it is an expensive bottle of wine. the whole point of a wine bar is to allow you try many different wines at many different price points. It is giving you an opportunity to try something that most other places would only serve by the bottle at prices of $75-$80. I know the wine and it is very unique and this is a great opportunity to try the wine with out having to buy a whole bottle. Like others have said he offers wide range of prices for everyones budget. Also, I am not the guy in the toque, nor do I own the restaurant.

  • foodnetworklowersstandards

    and that particular wine has zero sulphites-a sometimes difficult find.

    i couldn’t tell if they have a enomatic wine system in place-anyone? anyone?

    regardless of the toque (it really was a joke)i will try the place as i am always on the hunt for interested wine bars with passionate people and interesting choices.

    i miss cafe taste and prefer it to grand electric

  • Seeing double

    I am wondering if the owners did their due diligence when choosing the bar name. There has been a tattoo studio on Dundas at Brock for years now called Archive, owned by one of Toronto’s best tattooists. The name is clearly displayed in the window, and is the first thing that comes up on an internet search of “Archive Toronto”. Isn’t it bad form to open an establishment under the same name, on the SAME STREET, just a few blocks away? I don’t even see any meaning of the word Archive as it relates to a bar.

  • Foodie Girl

    Toque or not, the beard behind the counter is pretty hot

    I’m sure the wine and food are good too

  • Diane

    I was in T.O. visiting friends recently and went to Archive before dinner and really enjoyed it. Very tasteful yet simple atmosphere and this is consistent with the food and wine. I chose one of the more expensive glasses of wine because I am a fan of pinot noir and always seeking one of those hard to find good glasses of pinot – pre-selected by someone who knows what he is doing but there were options at a range of price points. I wouldn’t bother going for dinner afterward, unless you like to really fill yourself up – you will be happy to stay and have more tasty tapas and try a few more glasses of wine. Please open one in Vancouver!

  • KnowitALL

    @Seeing Double. I don’t know anything about the copycat name but the meaning of Archive is very relevant…since it is the owner’s intent to provide an ARCHIVE of great wines. They are also very knowledgeable and able to answer your questions about wine…much like an archivist answers reference questions.