The unusual number of people smoking underneath a flashing neon sign for tarot card readings indicates that there’s something more going on in the basement of 1307 Dundas St. W. (at Dovercourt). Walk down the stairs, and past the card reader’s booth to find the city’s newest bar, The Libertine.
“I wanted to do a speakeasy-style bar and restaurant with a secret entrance. You can’t open a nightclub anymore”, says co-owner Forrest Kendlbacher, who is also a real estate agent. Longtime restaurant partner Byron Dill (Kubo DX, Colony Kitchen) is the other owner.
The spacious interior has a mix of plush booths, bar seats and a long hightop running down centre. Drinks, created by Marc Baglio from Provisions Catering and Events, include a cognac, root-beer and cinnamon concoction appropriately named after the fake-turned-real medium in Ghost. Food-wise chef Leonie Lilla formerly of Momofuku Daisho is sending out snacking plates of fried chicken lettuce wraps, sticky boneless ribs, and salmon on sourdough.
The Libertine is open Tuesday to Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. And yes, the tarot card reader is a regular fixture there.